Deciding who has earned the title Business Leader of the Year is never an easy task and debate within the Business Herald is always intense.

This year readers have added their views with some strong support for many of our candidates, some outrage about a couple and a few interesting names we had not considered.

As with the response to New Zealander of the Year, Pike River Coal's chief executive, Peter Whittall, has clearly inspired many people. Several readers suggested that his courage and leadership should put him in the running for Business Leader of the Year.

But the events of the Pike River disaster were so tragic and extraordinary that we have not considered them within the parameters of regular business.

At least one reader suggested we might consider South Island businessman Allan Hubbard deserving of the award - although it wasn't entirely clear if the correspondent was a supporter or just being sarcastic.

2degrees boss Eric Hertz was a popular choice with readers, particularly among the technologically minded who responded via Twitter.

The company has certainly made a big impact on the public consciousness this year and shaken up the mobile phone market.

Reader Dirk Hudig made a good case for Restaurant Brands' Russell Creedy.

"He had to change the company culture and reconstruct it from top to bottom - something a number of his predecessors were unable to or did not have the vision to do."

Tony Gibbs, who backed a shareholder revolt and walked away from the GPG board this year, had strong supporters.

"His strong stand for shareholders in [what was] a difficult position for him has shown him to be a true man of principle," wrote Helen Lee.

Reader Darsel Keane saw it as a choice between Rod Drury and Derek Handley.

"Both great entrepreneurs showing that we can compete on the world stage and win and keep value and jobs in NZ."

We also had several nominations and endorsements from people effectively voting for their own boss.

Sky TV's John Fellet seems to engender plenty of goodwill on that front.

Some other reader suggestions included Simon Challies of Ryman Healthcare, Mark Waller of Ebos, Alan Clarke of Abano Healthcare and Gen-i's Chris Quin.