Top job: Richard Cove, executive director, human resources, NCH

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

I was human resources (HR) director for Canon, responsible for developing policy and strategy for the sales and service business in the UK and Ireland. I was also part of the Canon Europe HR Leadership team.

What qualifications do you hold?

A business degree and membership of the CIPD.

What are the duties in your new role?

I’m part of NCH’s leadership group, the Executive Management Team. The HR directorate has 100 people across the UK supporting colleagues and in shared services for recruitment, training, payroll and health and safety. I report directly to Clare Tickell, the chief executive.

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

Ensuring the NCH workforce is equipped to respond to changes in our market and deliver high-quality services for children, young people and their families.

What is the most essential tool in your job?

Understanding the employment market and the needs of NCH customers and service users.

And the most overrated?

In-depth knowledge of employment law.

What is the worst thing about HR?

People who assume that in-depth knowledge of employment law is vital.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

People who use the term ‘going forward’ when they mean next, or in the future.

How do you fill your spare time?

Spending time with my family, reading and having fun.

Who is your ultimate hero?

When I started playing rugby seriously, my role model was Barry Nelmes, a tight-head prop who played for Bristol.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Optimistic, irreverent and interested.

What is your favourite web page? – it’s the best route finder there is.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

There are so many, but Drink up thee Cider by Adge Cutler and the Wurzels gets me on my feet like a shot.

What is your worst habit?

Repeating myself to make sure that everyone has got my point. Repeating myself…

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Becoming a parent, without a doubt.

What three items would you take to a desert island?

A sunshade, a satellite phone and a large vat of Somerset cider.

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

George Clooney – I’m always being mistaken for him.


  • Aug 07-present, executive director, HR, NCH (children’s charity
  • Jul 02-Dec 06, director of HR, Canon (UK) (imaging products firm)
  • Nov 98-Jun 02, associate director, HR, Canon (UK)
  • Jul 94-May 98, director, personnel, Dunlop Tyres
  • Jul 91-Jul 94, general manager, personnel, Dunlop Tyres

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