Top job: Richard Walden, HR director, Bircham Dyson Bell

Richard Walden has been appointed HR director at London law firm Bircham Dyson Bell. He joins from property consultants CB Richard Ellis, where his last 18 months were spent working on the merger between CB Hillier Parker and Insignia Richard Ellis.

What will be the duties in your new role?

I report to the managing partner and my main role is to drive the strategic HR agenda to ensure that the firm achieves its objective of becoming a top 50 law firm within five years.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

The key issues are around managing growth and change, while retaining the culture and ethos of the firm.

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

To stop agonising over its ‘value’ and just get on with it!

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

Trying to persuade the police to release an employee, who had been arrested and put in a cell after an altercation with an alleged prostitute, at the end of the company’s Christmas party.

Who is your ultimate guru?

American author and scholar, Edgar Schein.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?


What is your essential TV viewing?

Little Britain.

Who would you most dislike to work with?

Prince Charles.

How do you fill your spare time?

Travel, reading and photography.

What is the essential tool in your job?


And the most over-rated?

The policy manual.

What is the homepage on your computer?

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

Don’t. Get some other experience first and then transfer in.

What was the last book you read?

Armageddon by Max Hastings.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Almost anything if I’ve had enough to drink.

What would be your dream job?

Captain of the Starship Enterprise.

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

Patrick Stewart – folliclely-challenged, a classical Shakespearean actor and captain of the Enterprise. But mostly because my wife thinks he’s great.

What is the worst office party you’ve ever attended?

See answer to strangest situation. It was a great party but I got woken up at 6am, which rather spoilt matters.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?

Winston Churchill.

Walden’s CV

2005 HR director, Bircham Dyson Bell

2000 UK HR director, CB Richard Ellis

1997 Head of change management, NatWest Consultancy

1993 Managing consultant, Working Transitions

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