A West Cumbrian chief executive has been named as a top leader in new regional awards.

Michael Pemberton, chief executive of profit-for-purpose property firm BEC, won the Transformational Leader Award at the first Northern Leadership Awards.

In September, Michael was shortlisted for the award, out of an outstanding 120 entries, in recognition of his work at Cleator Moor-based BEC following the company’s change from a publicly funded organisation to a commercial entity three years ago.

BEC manages the Westlakes Science Park, near Whitehaven, and is behind the multi-million-pound scheme to transform Whitehaven's North Shore area.

This includes the ongoing work to convert the town's vacant bus station into the Buzz Station, an office space for digital and creative start-ups and eatery, a hotel, multi-storey car park and a 75,000 sq ft office development.

Michael, who was also a finalist in the in-Cumbria Business Awards 2019 for Best Businessperson of the Year, attended the Northern Leadership Awards ceremony in Leeds recently.

Michael said: “I am incredibly proud of all associated with BEC, it is an absolute pleasure and an honour to be part of such an amazing team, tremendous company and incredible West Cumbrian community.”

BEC is working with Copeland Council and Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners on the North Shore scheme.

Mike Starkie, mayor of Copeland added: "Gaining this accolade is testament to the sterling work this organisation, with Michael at helm, do for the residents of West Cumbria.

"As a local council, the importance of striving for the best for our community is paramount and Michael’s dedication to contributing towards this is unquestionable.

"I’m proud of what we have achieved and I look forward to what will be accomplished as we continue to work in partnership to achieve the vision we all have for our region.”

Nigel Catterson, BEC’s executive chairman, said: “Under Michael’s leadership, BEC has found new purpose, new meaning and drive, all supported by an outstanding team.”