AUDREY Baxter, chairwoman of the family-run soup business, and Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter last night scooped the gongs for businesswoman and businessman of the year at the Scottish Business Insider Elite awards

Baxter received plaudits for raising the Fochabers-based firm's profile in the international market.

The top prize - his second in a week - went to Bill Gammell, chief executive of Edinburgh oil and gas firm Cairn Energy. Gammell was described by

the judges as a ''billion-dollar'' winner. He fought off competition from Sir Fred Goodwin of Royal Bank of Scot-

land and Professor Walter Nimmo of Inveresk Research Group.

Since Gammell founded it in 1980, Cairn has listed on the stock market in 1989 and last month was propelled into the top-flight FTSE-100 index of blue-chip companies.

Alasdair Northrop, Scottish Business Insider editor, said: ''It has been a truly remarkable year for Bill Gammell between the oil findings in India and the FTSE-100 listing. His leadership skills and determination make him a tremendous example of the quality that lies within Scotland's business community.''

Jack Perry, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, won the public sector category. One of the most surprised winners was Alex Barr of public relations firm The Big Partnership, which was handling publicity for the event.

Finalists were chosen by a 400-strong peer group of top Scottish business and professional leaders invited from the 50,000 readers of Scottish Business Insider.

Earlier this week Gammell was named the Ernst & Young UK Entrepreneur of the Year at an awards ceremony in London. He will go forward to a world-wide event to be held in Monte Carlo next May.


Diageo Businessman of the Year Award:

Brian Souter, chief executive, Stagecoach Group

Hudson Businesswoman of

the Year Award:

Audrey Baxter, chairwoman, WA Baxter & Sons

KPMG Young Business

Leader Award:

Alex Barr, director, The BIG Partnership

Insider Readers' Award:

Kai McCabe, managing director, Search Consul-


Insider Elite Leader Award:

Bill Gammell, chief executive, Cairn Energy

Scottish Leadership Foundation Public Service Leader Award:

Jack Perry, chief executive, Scottish Enterprise