Top job: Malachi Williams, head of HR, Reiss

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

As HR director, London and US, at Morgans Hotel Group, I provided HR support to the corporate office (around 70 employees) and nine directors of HR across the hotels in North America.

What qualifications do you hold?

Graduate membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, a business studies degree, and membership of SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management), the US version of the CIPD.

What are the duties in your new role?

I am responsible for a team of five HR professionals, and for the recruitment and training of all areas of the business. The role also involves providing advice and guidance to senior management on a range of strategic and operational issues.

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

Recruiting, developing and retaining skilled talent with an ever changing and diverse workforce that is shaped by immigration policies.

What is the most overrated tool in your job?

The BlackBerry.

And what work tool would you like to see invented?

A magic wand – for anything and everything.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Checking employment references. It takes times, is an administrative burden and adds no value.

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

Just by being at home with my partner – I love where I live and I love being there.

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

Let’s just say that I have enough material from my last role to keep drama Hotel Babylon on our TV screens for years – but those are stories I will never tell.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Authentic, self-motivated, and commercial.

What was your lucky break?

I’ll let you know when it happens.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I would invite only one person – Stephen Fry.

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

HR should not live and work in a bubble detached from the day-to-day operation of driving revenue – so get out there and learn the business you are in.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Can I decline to answer for legal reasons?

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Enjoy life and work hard, but remember that work is not your life.


Williams’ CV

Apr 2008-present – Head of HR, Reiss (retailer)

Mar 2004-Mar 2008 – HR director, London and US, Morgans Hotel Group

May 2003-Feb 2004 – HR manager, Easy Group (multiple brands)

Sep 2002-May 2003 – HR consultant, Doctors Direct (private healthcare)

Mar 1999-Aug 2002 – HR manager, UK and Europe, Burberry (retailer)

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