Where were you working before, and what were your duties?
I was a member of the executive committee and board of Fortis Investments, a global asset management business operating across 20 countries. I held the position of chief financial officer, with management responsibility for finance, strategy, mergers and acquisitions and HR. As a people-centred organisation, it provided an exceptional platform to bring together the financial and human capital aspects of the business.
What qualifications do you hold?
I have a first-class honours degree in industrial and business systems, a post-graduate MA in HR management and I am CIPD qualified.
What are the duties in your new role?
I'm responsible for delivering the people agenda across the Barclays Wealth business worldwide. As we are in the process of transforming the business for rapid growth, a significant amount of my time will focus on leading talent across our front office, product and operational teams. I have about 140 HR professionals internationally reporting to me, covering generalist and specialist roles. I report to the chief operating officer.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
I prefer to talk about the business challenge that manifests itself around people. In our sector, it remains three-fold:
1) How to compete in a shrinking and fiercely competitive, globally mobile talent pool.
2) How to build a high-performance environment that accommodates diversity and work pattern flexibility.
3) To create a reputation as a builder of high-quality talent, rather than just a hirer of quality talent. The business that meets these challenges successfully will have phenomenal success in the wealth management arena.
What is the essential tool in your job?
Common sense. While everyone's version of this is different, I find it gives me a firm foundation on which to use my technical and commercial skills effectively.
And the most overrated?
Status. Too many HR (and other) professionals rely on grade and seniority to get things done. I have found solid thinking, pragmatic solutions and