Top Job: Charlie Keeling, HR director, Field Fisher Waterhouse

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

I was at BearingPoint, responsible for all aspects of HR and learning and development for 3,800 staff, across 16 countries in Europe.

What qualifications do you hold?

I am a qualified accountant (CIMA).

What are the duties in your new role?

To develop and execute the HR strategy in line with the firm’s business growth strategy. I will also focus on all HR issues for the partners.

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

Attracting sufficient talent, and ensuring that we develop and motivate the current staff teams.

What is the most overrated tool in your job?

Salary benchmarks.

And what work tool would you like to see invented?

‘The Motivatometer’, to provide a daily assessment of which teams are happy, which are unhappy and why.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Very few people ever say ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’, but are all too keen to get the complaint in.

How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?

A brisk 30 minute walk and a long gin and tonic usually do the trick.

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

Being awoken in London at 6am by the Swiss immigration authorities to tell me that they had arrested, and imprisoned, three of our US partners for persistent work permit abuses.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Positive, responsive, and adaptable.

What was your lucky break?

Getting the global HR leader role at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) following the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Car enthusiast Jeremy Clarkson, cricketer Ian Botham, comedienne Dawn French and singer/actress Bette Midler.

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

Learn very quickly how to cope with ambiguity.

What job would you like your children to do?

I would like them all to become full equity law partners so they can look after me in my old age.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Leaving PwC and joining Capco in the dot.com era.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

If you’re not having fun doing what you are doing, you’re doing the wrong thing.

CV
February 2008-present
HR director, Field Fisher Waterhouse (law firm)

July 2004-January 2008
EMEA HR director, BearingPoint (management consultants)

May 2000-June 2004
Global HR leader, Capco (technology provider)

September 1997-April 2000
Global HR leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers (management consultants)

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