Chairman of Leeds-based Bailie Group awarded CBE

Roy Bailie, chairman of Leeds-based Bailie Group and significant contributor to public life and civic society in Northern Ireland, has been awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the economy and opera in Northern Ireland during this year’s King’s Birthday Honours List.

The CBE has in part been awarded to recognise Roy’s contributions to the economy throughout his career. As a Harvard Business School graduate, Roy is a successful entrepreneur and business leader, with over 60 years of experience in senior management and governance in public, private and community organisations. 

Roy’s services to the economy are extensive, with previous notable non-executive director roles include on the Court of Directors for the Bank of England, chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, chairman of Northern Ireland Confederation of British Industry(CBI), and Court of Directors for Bank of Ireland, among others.

Through the success of his own business ventures, including growing his company, Baird Group, now known as Bailie Group, to become the fifth biggest privately owned printing group in the UK. The growth of the organisation led to Roy being awarded the Officer of Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to printing in 1996, followed by a Lifetime Achievement Award from The British Printing Industry in 2007. 

And now, with the rise of the digital age, the printing industry has contracted, but Roy has led a change indirection of group strategy to focus on communication consultancies and agencies, initially with the acquisition of digital transformation agency, CDS, with others acquired thereafter.

Further to his achievements in business, the CBE has also been awarded for Roy’s contributions to the opera, having served as chairman for Northern Ireland Opera for 14 years, building the organisation from the ground up to widely respected on the global stage, winning international acclaim for productions. He has been a key influence in developing the talent and education of the opera community, with the board providing the space and tools for individuals to explore their creative skills, to widen the demographic and age range of the audience.

Commenting on his appointment, Roy Bailie said, “I feel greatly honoured to have been recognised for my services to the economy. The transformation of Bailie Group over the years is truly astonishing, starting as a technical printing company and expanding into a modern, highly efficient group of agencies and consultancies with the collective mission to improve people’s lives by sharing knowledge.”

“My son, Fergus Bailie is the CEO of the group and has recently been appointed the Yorkshire and Humber regional chair of the CBI. I’m exceedingly proud of the success of Bailie Group which Fergus continues to drive forward, by striving to innovate and exceed growth targets for every company in the group. This year, we’re aiming for an ambitious three-year target — £60m turnover and £5m profit.”

Fergus Bailie, CEO of Bailie Group and son of Roy Bailie, commented: “It’s fantastic to see Dad’s incredible lifetime achievements recognised in this year’s honours. We’re all extremely proud of him and the work he continues to do both within the industry and for the opera in Northern Ireland.”

Cameron Menzies, NI Opera’s Artistic Director, said, “Roy’s impact on opera in Northern Ireland is almost immeasurable.  His extensive business expertise, visionary thinking and dogged determination have resulted in an opera company of which Northern Ireland can be justly proud.”

Roy commented further, “ Lastly I’d like to express gratitude to my family, including my wife Paddy, my two children and their partners, and my five grandchildren. I couldn’t have achieved all I have without their support.”

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