Movers and Shakers May 2021: Nissan and GHD appointments

Michael Jude, 34, Nissan‘s Sunderland plant's youngest ever HR director.

Personnel Today’s latest update of recent appointments in the HR world includes a youngest ever HR director at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, a new inclusivity and diversity role at a global professional services company and two key appointments at the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion.

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By the time I get to Phoenix

Savings and retirement planning business Phoenix Group has appointed Wendy Cunningham to the newly created role of HR chief operating officer. The new role has been created to support Phoenix’s aim to have a workforce with greater diversity of outlook and the expertise to meet the needs of its customers. Cunningham joins from Experian, where she was the global people technology, analytics & talent acquisition director. She previously held a number of global roles across a range of HR disciplines. She has also worked at Barclays where she started as part of the graduate programme and progressed to take on significant roles including HR director for Barclaycard International and group reward director. On her appointment she said: “I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues to support the strategic growth of the business and make Phoenix the best place colleagues have ever worked, through delivery of the ambitious people strategy.”


On the Mersey beat

Liverpool City Council has joined with Liverpool’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) to create a new director of people and talent post. The two organisations have a combined workforce of over 5,000 staff. Jo Twist has been Liverpool CCG’s director of organisational and people development since September 2019 and started in her new role on19 April, overseeing the council’s human resources and learning and development functions. She will also lead on the council’s crucial culture change programme, due to be brought in following the ‘Best Value’ government inspection. Liverpool-born Twist has 35 years’ experience as an HR and OD leader in the NHS and local government. She said: “I’m excited to be working across both the council and CCG to deliver the best possible services for our residents and staff, and to support the ambitions set out in our ‘City Plan’.”


A new Leaf for Michael

Nissan‘s Sunderland plant has appointed its youngest ever director. Michael Jude, 34, is the vehicle manufacturing centre’s new HR director. He started at the plant in 2010 as a graduate in the HR department and has held roles both at the factory and in Nissan’s wider European business. Nissan says it has a history of nurturing home-grown talent into key roles at the plant, with nine of the company’s present senior management team having started on the graduate scheme.This includes vice president for manufacturing Alan Johnson who started as an engineering graduate in 1991 and went on to hold a number of positions within Nissan in Russia, Spain and France before returning to Sunderland in May last year. He said: “Our plant has a rich history of developing the talent of its highly skilled team, and Michael’s appointment just shows what can be achieved. As alumni myself I know that our graduate scheme is the perfect springboard for a successful career – I would encourage anyone looking for an opportunity to take a look at the positions we have available at the plant.”


Network news

Darren Jalink has joined Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion as commercial director and Michelle Davies is joining as service design & delivery director. Jalink is an experienced business development, relationship management and marketing professional, with senior level experience across the pharmaceutical, healthcare and technology sectors; he will lead on the development and delivery of the Network’s commercial strategy. Davies has a background in the health, housing and charity sectors; she will lead on the charity’s services strategy, and the design, delivery and continuous improvement of its services. The appointments follow the arrival of Darra Singh as chair and Sandi Wassmer as chief executive officer in November 2020. Wassmer said: “With equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging becoming vital components of workplace cultures in organisations of all shapes and sizes, I am truly excited to be welcoming Darren and Michelle to the team.”


Leading diversity

Global professional services firm GHD has appointed Sadaf Parvaiz to the newly created role of inclusion and diversity leader. Parvaiz joins the global senior leadership team and will work to advance inclusion across the company’s global operations, spanning 10,000 people in over 200 offices. She was previously director diversity, inclusion and belonging (Americas) at EY, where she was responsible for developing, implementing and leading organisational change. She said: “As a global organisation that is focused on encouraging creative minds to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, it’s really important that GHD has a truly inclusive culture. My focus is to weave inclusion and diversity into all facets of our culture and business processes to create a workplace where everyone feels like they belong.” GHD CEO Ashley Wright added: “We have an enormous opportunity and responsibility to ensure our workplace is welcoming of people who have previously been under-represented in engineering, science and other technical fields. We strongly believe that diversity of thought, background and experience helps the business to create imaginative and responsive solutions for our clients and the communities in which we operate.”


University challenge

Last month Regent’s University London appointed Valérie de Saegher as director of HR. Her most recent previous role was director EMEIA at Burberry, and she was before that at Marks & Spencer as head of HR, Europe and the Royal Bank of Scotland. She will join the vice-chancellor’s executive team helping to deliver a new strategy at Regent’s. Her responsibilities will include implementing the university’s people project and developing new ways of working in agile teams across the organisation. CEO of Regent’s University London, Professor Geoff Smith, said: “Valérie brings a wealth of senior experience and will be invaluable in helping to drive the university forward through an agile and inclusive culture.” De Saegher said the university’s vision “is very much aligned to my personal goals and I look forward to working with my new colleagues as we strive to shape our culture and put people at the heart of our business.”


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