The recognition came as Phoenix Natural Gas announced the retirement of Michael McKinstry as chief executive officer (CEO) of the group.
Michael is one of the longest serving members of the Northern Ireland gas industry, having been a member of the leadership team at Phoenix since its establishment in 1996, initially as chief financial officer (CFO) and since 2014 as CEO.
He will be succeeded by Kailash Chada, the current CFO at Phoenix.
Michael’s career in the gas industry coincided with a period of considerable greenfield investment, during which time the company constructed a pipeline infrastructure to deliver gas to over 350,000 properties.
A statement from Phoenix added the group has also gained international recognition for its commitment to responsible business practices and supporting local communities.
And its pipeline investment, in one of the most modern gas networks globally, leaves Phoenix well placed to play a key role in the delivery of an integrated net zero energy system in the province.
Prior to joining Phoenix, Michael undertook various financial management roles across a broad range of business sectors including electricity, heavy engineering and textiles.
He is a qualified accountant, a member of the Institute of Directors and holds various governance roles in the education and charitable sectors.
Michael is regular contributor to business forums and leadership platforms having developed significant knowledge and expertise in areas such as business development, regulation, corporate finance, energy markets, ESG and change management. In addition, he enjoys travel and has a broad range of sporting interests.
Peter Dixon, chair of Phoenix Group, said: “I am confident that Kailash will build on the great success achieved under Michael’s distinguished leadership.
"At a time when there are significant opportunities for the energy sector to develop alternative renewable solutions from increasingly indigenous production sources, Kailash’s determination and drive will be key assets in leading Phoenix through its next phase of growth and development.”
Kailash, who takes up his new role in April, has served as the company’s CFO since 2017, having held several senior roles in leading financial institutions in London, including interim CEO for a division of Ulster Bank.