Top job – Virginia Rothwell, group HR director, Tribal Group

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I was at BT as HR director for BT Wholesale, leading various change agendas including resourcing, talent and performance management.

What qualifications do you hold?

BA in psychology, sociology, and history; Day Skipper qualification.

What are the duties in your new role?

Developing the right people strategy to enable our core business to grow. It’s up to me to future-proof our leadership capability and management structure, and maximise the capability of the HR database.

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

Leading and engaging employees and potential employees through an internet world.

What is the essential tool in your job?


And the most overrated?

Annual employee surveys.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Slavishly following process.

Who is your ultimate hero?


What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Let’s run that up the flagpole and see who salutes’.

How do you fill your spare time?

Sailing, skiing, swimming.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Curious, energetic, results-driven.

What is your favourite web page?

Blackcombe Whistler (ski resort website).

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Spinning Around by Kylie Minogue.

What is your worst habit?

Apparently, I don’t ‘suffer fools gladly’.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

As an Australian, moving into corporate UK.

What three items would you take on a desert island?

My paint brushes, my godchildren and my wine collection.

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

Dawn French – she’ll have my family and friends laughing at the silly aspects of my life.

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

Best and worst: cranking out sales bonus calculations at 8pm on Christmas Eve with the country sales team plying us with champagne.

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

George Clooney.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Keep giving without expecting anything in return.


Dec 07-present, Group HR director, Tribal Group (offers professional consulting, support and delivery services to improve the delivery of public services)

Jan 2002-Dec 2006, HR director, BT Wholesale (BT’s broadband services)

Jan 2001-Dec 2002,  HR director, BTexact (BT’s research and technology business)

Jan 1999-Jan 2001, HR vice-president, Concert (BT’s joint business venture with AT&T now closed)

Jan 1996-Dec 1999, HR director, BT Strategic Markets (subsumed into BT Global Services)

Nov 1995-Jun 1996, Resourcing and development lead, BT Asia Pacific (BT global services)

June 1994-Nov 1995, HR director, Global Marketing (BT’s customer intelligence)

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