Top job: Rob Pinkham, executive director, Employers’ Organisation for Local Government (EO)

Rob Pinkham has been appointed executive director of the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government (EO). Previously deputy executive director, Pinkham will be responsible for best practice, employee relations and the development of the organisation.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

Improved people management throughout the sector, modernisation of contracts of employment and pay and rewards policies in local government, and development of the EO as an effective modern employers’ organisation.

Which aspects are you most looking forward to?

Working closely with more than 400 local authorities, helping them improve public services and develop local democracy.

How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?

It depends entirely on whether HR managers can assert both the relevance of high performance people management to corporate success, and the relevance of their positions in achieving that.

Who is the ultimate guru?

We need to avoid putting faith in the next fashionable guru or idea. There is little that is genuinely new in our field. What we need is coherent people management ideas, related closely to business objectives, and effectively delivered. Organisations will find different routes to success, but none will do so in the long term without the commitment of the people they employ.

What is your essential viewing?

The off switch.

What’s the best thing about HR?

It has the potential to transform organisations.

And the worst?

That potential is very often wasted.

How do you fill your spare time?

Scaring myself on my Suzuki motorbike.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Getting on the Suzuki in the first place.

What is the essential tool in your job?

My handheld wireless Blackberry.

And the most over-rated?

The PowerPoint presentation.

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

Start somewhere else and move into people management when you have a strong track record in general management and some experience in corporate strategy.

Do you network?

I can’t avoid it.

What’s the worst office party you’ve ever attended?

I can’t remember – and in any case all office parties are bad news for the HR manager.

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

Any personal trainer.

Pinkham’s CV

2004 Executive director, EO for Local Government

1999 Deputy executive director, EO for Local Government

1995 Chief personnel officer and deputy director of resources, Barnet Council

1989 Assistant secretary HR, Association of District Councils

1979 Personnel adviser, Haringey Council

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