Top job: Anna Black, global HR director, Greythorn Group

Where were you working before, and what were your duties?


I was UK managing director of Greythorn – our UK IT recruitment business – with full day-to-day operational responsibility.


What qualifications do you hold?


MSc in HR Management personnel and development MA ‘Grad CIPD’ and BA Honours in European politics and French.


What are the duties in your new role?


I have a team of four in London, one in the US, and two in the Asia Pacific region. I report to Greythorn Group’s global CEO, Graham Palfery-Smith. I design, implement and deliver a global HR strategy. The company comprises a range of recruitment brands operating in different vertical markets on four continents, so it’s imperative to be able to support local HR delivery across all locations and brands.


What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?


We live in a world dominated by skills shortages. HR needs to take the lead in becoming more innovative in the way it goes about sourcing and developing talent from an ever-shrinking pool, while also keeping abreast of ever-changing employment legislation.


What is the essential tool in your job?


My world clock. Our people are spread across the globe, so I need to know what time it is in numerous locations.


And the most overrated?


My organisation chart.


What is the worst thing about HR?


People’s preconceptions about what an HR professional does.


What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?


A sauna, a bunch of carrots, a trainee and a client spring to mind.


Who is your ultimate hero?


Dr Gregory House from the Channel 5 TV programme House.


What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?


‘Human capital’. We deal with people, not human capital.


How do you fill your spare time?


What spare time?


What words would you use to describe yourself?


Busy, well-travelled and jet-lagged.


What is your favourite web page?


www.personneltoday.com, of course.


What song gets you on the dance floor?


Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, or I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ by the Scissor Sisters.


What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?


Moving away from having direct sales responsibilities and into HR.


What three items would you take with you on a desert island?


A fishing rod, factor 30 sun cream, and someone to talk to.


Who would play you in the film of your life and why?


Maybe Dame Judi Dench, who is simply fantastic.


Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?


Condoleeza Rice.


Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.


Life’s always a challenge, but it’s one to be enjoyed to the full.


Black’s CV




  • Feb 2007-present: Global HR director, Greythorn Group


  • Aug 2002-Feb 2007: Managing director, operations director, HR manager, Greythorn (IT recruitment consultancy)


  • Sep 1999-Feb 2002: E-channel resource manager, international client relationship manager, recruiter, Spring Group (recruitment and IT services company)


  • May 1996-July 1997: Temps recruiter, Adecco Alfred Marks (recruitment agency)

Tell us about your top job…


Have you just landed a fantastic new job? E-mail louisa.peacock@rbi.co.uk with all the details.

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