Top job: Gary Brewer

What is your new role?

Head of organisational development and reward, Scottish Widows, part of the Lloyds TSB group.

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

Vice-president of HR at drug development consultancy Aptuit, with global HR responsibility for the US, Europe, India and Singapore. I was also company director at Aptuit (Edinburgh).

What qualifications do you hold?

A masters in law and employment relations. I’m also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Institute of Asset Management and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, with supporting professional qualifications.

How big is your team and who do you report to?

I report to Kate Guthrie, HR director, insurance and investment. I’m responsible for 11 reward, organisational development and learning and development staff.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

To secure a practical working knowledge of the business to understand the specific challenges faced and to make a good, solid contribution to meeting those challenges through learning and development support, succession planning, leadership and culture development, organisational design, and aligned reward activities. Essentially, I want to play a full, relevant part in a high-performing organisation.

What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?

Ongoing outsourcing, a competitive global economy, demographic changes, a challenging leadership development agenda, an ever-demanding legal environment, and the need to develop a sufficient pool of ‘business-savvy’ HR professionals to contend with these challenges.

What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?

Learn the business and the law, look for learning opportunities, and get to know the workforce and culture in local terms.

What is the essential tool in your job?

My BlackBerry, although I’m a late convert.

What is the worst thing about HR?

The lack of clear articulation of what HR contributes to the bottom line, and the constant self-doubt about its worth.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

I find most of it to be nothing short of rubbish.

What is your essential TV viewing?

Re-runs of Brideshead Revisited, The Avengers and Rising Damp, as well as Sky Sports.

How do you fill your spare time?

Family, football, studies (presently towards another law degree) and voluntary/consultancy work (with a housing association, the National Training Awards and now the Glasgow Council on Alcohol).

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Indulging in some of the food encountered on my travels in India.

What was the last book you read?

The Other Side of You, by Salley Vickers.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Complete Control, by The Clash.

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

For sheer style, it would have to be Cary Grant.

Brewer’s CV

  • October 2006-present: Head of organisational development and reward, Scottish Widows

  • 2005-2006: Vice-president of HR, Aptuit

  • 2002-2005: Senior director, HR and information services, Quintiles

  • 1999-2002: Director, HR operations, Quintiles

  • 1998-1999: Associate director of HR, Quintiles

Tell us about your top job

Have you just landed a fantastic new job? E-mail with all the details.

Comments are closed.