Now retired, Dr Franke was the former Head of Development at Germany-headquartered leather chemicals maker Zschimmer & Schwarz, where he was instrumental in developing next generation water repellents, fatliquors and auxiliaries for leathermaking for the company.

In 2005, he was head of the leather commission in Germany, which was responsible for developing new test methods for fogging, chrome VI, mould and formaldehyde in leather manufacturing among others.

He said: “I am hugely honoured to receive this award, especially from my respected third-party peers and I would like to thank all my former colleagues at Zschimmer & Schwarz as well as those on the VGCT board.”