Where were you working before and what were your duties?
I was a district manager with Darlington Building Society. My main duties included overseeing the running of three branches and promoting the society’s product range in the North-East.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
I hope to change the role of HR from the traditional perception of an administration function, becoming more involved in the society’s strategy for staff. I hope to be heavily involved in the implementation of a culture change within the organisation.
What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?
With each function having to demonstrate that it adds value to an organisation, HR can no longer feel that its contribution cannot be measured. It can – and in my view, it should be.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
I once did a mortgage interview with an applicant in a sci-fi shop store cupboard – slightly larger than your average broom cupboard – surrounded by model replicas of Darth Vadar, Jabba the Hut and the Star Ship Enterprise.
What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?
‘You have a blank canvas on that one’.
Who would you least like to work with?
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson – I’m a lifetime Liverpool fan.
How do you fill your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my family, watch most levels of football and the occasional film.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Thirteen years ago, I left my family and friends to move 150 miles up the A1 to Darlington.
What advice would you give people starting out in HR?
Gain some knowledge of the other areas of the business, as it is these people who will become your customers and you need to be able to appreciate their needs and points of view.
What would be your dream job?
It would have to be a professional footballer, playing in the Premiership.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Garfield, because all nine lives would be required.
What is the worst office party you’ve ever attended?
We went out for a meal one evening to celebrate receiving an award, and we ended up at a nightclub doing a disastrous team karaoke performance.
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Peter Kay or Steve Coogan.
2005 HR manager, Darlington Building Society
2002 District manager, Darlington Building Society
1992 Various roles, Darlington Building Society