Top job: Paul Robertson, group HR director, Buckhatir Group

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

I was working for print company Quebecor World Corporation as HR director, with a strong emphasis on industrial relations and employee relations.

What qualifications do you hold?

An MBA and FCIPD, among others.

What are the duties in your new role?

Based in the United Arab Emirates, I will be covering the whole spectrum of HR and building the function from scratch. I have a group head office role, so I will be the strategy man. I will eventually have a team of up to 10. I report to the vice-chair and chief executive.

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

Attracting good people into the profession, dealing with increasing diversity, and keeping hold of talented people.

What is the essential tool in your job?


And the most overrated?

Gadgets of any description.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Other people’s lack of understanding about the profession.

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

Working for a company where the union thought it was still the 1970s.

Who is your ultimate hero?

It has to be a close call between Van Morrison and Jimi Hendrix.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

All of it.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Direct, honest and witty.

What is your most popular web page?

BBC News.

How do you fill your spare time?

At the moment, exploring Dubai and parts of the United Arab Emirates.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Nutbush City Limits, by Tina Turner.

What is your worst habit?

Not listening when I should.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Taking this job in the United Arab Emirates.

What three items would you take with you on a desert island?

Solar-powered music system, family photos and a sketchbook.

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

Groucho Marx – because he was part of a funny, dysfunctional family too.

What is the worst (or best) office party you’ve ever attended?

I don’t do office parties.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?

Bob Geldof.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Do it before somebody else does.

Robertson’s CV

  • Feb 2007- present Group HR director, Buckhatir Group

  • Mar 2000- Jan 2007 HR director, Quebecor World Corporation

  • Feb 1996- Mar 2000 Group HR manager, Lear Corporation

  • May 1994- Feb 1996 Group HR manager, Schade UK

  • Sep 1991- May 1994 Group training and development manager, PPG Corporation

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