Top job… Paul Brewer

Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?

I worked for Mitie, originally as head of HR of its niche business services, then becoming part of its HR team within the facilities management division.

What qualifications do you hold?

I am a chartered member of the CIPD.

What are the duties in your new role?

I am responsible for the HR and payroll provision.

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

I now have a lot of ground work to be done to establish consistent practices and procedures throughout the business. We are also looking to develop the business further, both in the UK and in other European countries, so this is a really exciting time to be joining.

What is the most overrated tool in your job?


And what work tool would you like to see invented? Why?

The thirty-five-hours-a-day clock, because there is never enough time.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Constantly going on about their right to a place on the top table. I come from the school of thought that you earn that right through your positive contribution to the business.

How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?

I try to avoid having bad days.

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

Dismissing myself through redundancy. I was the last of around 50 because we closed the whole business, so I had to get legal advice about a compromise agreement that I had written with the same legal advice.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Service, service, service.

What was your lucky break?

This one. It’s the best career move I’ve made.

What do you regret about your career?

Nothing. No time for regrets, and anyway, you learn something from every situation.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Nelson Mandela – a phenomenal speaker.

Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows.

No, because then everybody would know.

Who was your childhood hero?

The (fictional) dog Rin Tin Tin

Tell us about your best ever holiday.

Ten days in Orlando followed by four nights on the Disney Cruise ship.

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

Keep it simple – always think of your internal customer – and be commercial. HR is not for the soft-hearted.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Leaving a job because it wasn’t right.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Make the best of every second you can because you only have one chance at this thing called life. If you’re not happy – change it.

HR director, Copart UK (online vehicle remarketing)

Brewer’s CV

  • Mar 2009-present, HR director, Copart UK (online vehicle remarketing)
  • Jun 2007-Mar 2009, Head of HR, Mitie Business Services (facilities management)
  • Dec2004-Apr 2006, HR director, QHotels
  • 2002-2003, Various Interim roles
  • Feb 2000-Nov 2001, European HR director, Excel Communications, trading as ETI

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