Pets at Home head of human resources sees private equity firms put high value on people management

HR professionals should not fear private equity takeovers, the head of HR at nationwide chain Pets at Home has insisted.

Ryan Cheyne told Personnel Today that people management at the company was healthier since it was bought for £230m by private firm Bridgepoint in 2004.

A surge of private equity takeovers have been viewed with suspicion recently, with the TUC calling on the government to protect employees at target organisations.

But this summer, Pets at Home sent 1,500 of its 3,500 staff on off-site training sessions to boost their confidence in approaching customers. Cheyne said this was evidence of the parent company’s commitment to its employees.

“From my experience, there is nothing to fear from private equity,” he said.

“I’ve worked for all sorts of organisational structures, and this model is as good as any other from a people point of view.

“Since Bridgepoint took over, we’ve opened more stores, which has created more jobs, and investment in training has increased.”

The support offered by Bridgepoint for the summer training scheme would not have been available in many organisations, he added.

Private equity takeovers have risen from 9% of all deals to 25% since 1998, according to the TUC.

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