Top job: Philip Barr, head of UK HR, Cable & Wireless

Philip Barr has recently moved to leading international telecommunications
company Cable & Wireless following two years at Barclays Retail Bank. Prior
to this, he worked at Barclaycard and Boots the Chemist.

What will be the duties in your new role?

My main focus will be helping the new senior management team to maximise the
people capabilities of the UK business.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

My main objective is to maximise the satisfaction of all the stakeholders in
the business – customers, staff and shareholders.

Which aspects are you most looking forward to?

The freedom to make a difference.

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

On joining a factory in a notoriously tough part of town, part of the
induction programme was about what to do if a brick came through the car
windscreen. (The answer: push the windscreen out with the palm of the hand!).

Who is the ultimate guru?

The Dalai Lama – there’s more to life than business!

What’s your essential viewing?


What’s the best thing about human resources?

It is very simple – helping people to learn.

And the worst?

Trying to change the few HR staff that have a ‘can’t do’ attitude.

How do you fill your spare time?

Mainly spending time with my family, as well as sports.

How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?

I believe that it will continue to evolve towards a lean, strategic,
business partner.

What is the essential tool in your job?

My laptop.

And the most over-rated?

None – I need all the help I can get!

What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?

Get a line job in a customer-facing environment early on in your career.

Do you network?

I’ve only realised in the past two years how important this is.

Barr’s CV

2003 Head of UK HR, Cable &

2001 HR director, Barclays Retail Bank

1999 HR director, Barclaycard

1998 Head of stores HR, Boots the Chemist

1995 Director of personnel and training, Boots Opticians

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