Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?
I was HR director for the Welcome subsidiary of the Cattles Group, responsible for the people strategy.
What qualifications do you hold?
A BSc in Biology, and a PhD in Plant Physiology – not much use to an HR professional.
What are the duties in your new role?
I now report to the chief executive and set the people strategy for the group, ensuring that all of our colleagues engage with the strategy and medium term plan, and that they share in the reward that successful performance brings.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
Maintaining an engaged workforce in constantly changing times.
What is the most overrated tool in your job?
E-mail – it stops people talking to each other.
And what work tool would you like to see invented?
A truly efficient archive and retrieval system – we need to store so much, but it’s always hard to access the information.
What is the worst thing about HR?
When the function isn’t aligned to the business.
How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?
A work out at the gym followed by dinner and a decent glass of wine.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Sharing an air line with a colleague while scuba diving on a teambuilding event.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Driven, measured, and instinctive.
What was your lucky break?
Working directly for Archie Norman at Asda soon after he took over as chief executive.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Someone to make me laugh – TV presenter Jonathan Ross.
What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?
Work on the basis that while you might like to know everything, you don’t need to know everything.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Working for a dot.com company in the late 1990s.
Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.
Strive hard to achieve the best you can – but be happy with what you achieve.
- May 2008-present – group HR director, Cattles
- April 2005-May 2008 – HR director, Welcome Financial Services (subsidiary of Cattles)
- Feb 2004-March 2005 – Head of HR, Argos (retail)
- Aug 2001-Dec 2004 – HR director, Wilson Connolly (housebuilder)