Air New Zealand chairman Tony Carter has been named the 2015 winner of the Shareholders Association's Beacon Award.

The investor group's chairman, John Hawkins, said Carter was a remarkable leader and strategist and had an approachable, down-to-earth manner. "His peers recognised him last year when he was named Deloitte Top 200 chairman of the Year," Hawkins said. "Now it is the turn of retail shareholders to also honour his achievements and, more importantly, his continuing promotion of the highest standards of [corporate] governance, ethics and diversity."

In addition to Air New Zealand, Carter also chairs medical device maker Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and the Auckland Blues, as well as being a director of Fletcher Building and ANZ New Zealand.

The Beacon Award, first presented in 2002, recognises outstanding performance across criteria including leadership, corporate governance and respecting the rights of shareholders.

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Carter said it was an honour to receive the award. "The role of a director is to be custodian for the shareholders' investment and I am very fortunate to be recognised by the Shareholders Association in this way."