Top job: Jo Rigby, HR director, Beevers and Struthers (chartered accountants)

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


I have spent most of my career working for General Electric in a variety of operations, training and HR roles. I started my career there as a graduate trainee and worked my way up to HR director.


What qualifications do you hold?


I have a BA honours degree in English and philosophy, a postgraduate diploma in HR development and I am a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.


What are the duties in your new role?


My role is both operational and strategic. My remit is to establish the HR function in the practice, ensuring that HR policies and procedures are aligned to the firm’s strategy, and that the firm complies with all statutory regulations. I am also responsible for workforce development.


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


Attracting and retaining the right people and ensuring that, together, we are positioned to meet the changing needs of the business world.


What is the most overrated tool in your job?


E-mail. It’s so much better to talk face to face.


And what tool would you like to see invented?


A jargon buster – we all use far too much.


What is the worst thing about HR?


Consultations and redundancies.


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


By having dinner with my family and friends.


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


Being in a meeting with a new European chief executive when the chair he was sitting on collapsed beneath him. It was his first visit to our business and we had so wanted to impress him.


What three words would you use to describe yourself?


Honest, focused, and committed.


What was your lucky break?


My boss seeing potential in me and moving me from a pure training role into a general HR role.


Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?


Actresses Bette Midler and Julie Walters, raconteur Stephen Fry, TV hostess Ellen Degeneres, and country singer Dolly Parton.


What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?


Make sure you’re not hiding in an ivory tower – get out into your business so you have a true understanding of what it’s like to work there.


What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?


Leaving my last senior role without another role to go to because I no longer believed in the direction the business was going.


Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.


Nobody ever reached the top by aiming for the middle.


Rigby’s CV




  • Sep 2008 to present: HR director, Beever and Struthers


  • 1993-2008: Graduate trainee, training and development manager, HR manager, HR director, General Electric (consumer goods)


  • Sep 2008 to present: HR director, Beever and Struthers


  • 1993-2008: Graduate trainee, training and development manager, HR manager, HR director, General Electric (consumer goods)

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