Top job – Eric Gregory, personnel director, John Lewis Partnership

Where did you work before and what were your duties?

I was IT director at John Lewis, responsible for all IT development, support and innovation. I looked after a team of 250 IT partners.

What qualifications do you hold?

A BA and an MA in chemistry.

What are the duties in your new role?

To maintain and develop an environment for our partners to deliver sustained commercial success. I have a team of 70 at head office and report to the managing director (John Lewis).

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

To engage and motivate partners to consistently deliver high performance and to maintain a talent pipeline.

What is the essential tool in your job?

My team.

And the most over-rated?

E-mail. An essential tool but when used inappropriately it generates additional work.

What is the worst thing about HR?

That its significance can be misunderstood. It’s much more than just a ‘support’ function – it shapes responsibilities for the business as a whole.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?

Dressing up as a goth in a metal band at a Christmas lunch. Mind you, my managing director then was Gene Simmons of Kiss.

Who is your ultimate hero?

Richard Feynman.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?


How do you fill your spare time?

With my sons – often playing and watching sport and rehearsing with their rock band.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Helpful, innovative and achievement-oriented.

What is your favourite web page?, of course.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Rock and Roll, by Led Zeppelin.

What is your worst habit?

Excessive caffeine and sugar intake.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Not moving home with the rest of my family at age 16, and living in a B&B instead.

What three items would you take to a desert island?

My laptop, a digital SLR camera and a full cocktail cabinet.

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

Johnny Depp – he likes a challenge, and he obviously has the necessary looks.

Gregory’s CV

May 2007-present
Personnel director, John Lewis

Mar 2006-May 2007
Systems director, John Lewis

Sep 2002-Mar 2006
Systems director, Waitrose

May 1998-Sep 2002
Director of computer services, John Lewis

Feb 1997-May 1998
Head of corporate systems, John Lewis

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