Top job… Robin Cooper

What is your new role?

HR director, UK and Ireland electricals, at electrical retailer DSG International.

Where did you work before?

I was vice-president, HR, for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Eagle Global Logistics – a 25-country role putting basic standards, processes and consistency into HR across the region.

What qualifications do you hold?

BA in sociology, MSc in management development and chartered fellowship ofthe CIPD.

What are the duties in your new role?

I lead the HR agenda for Currys and other businesses, covering 15,000 employees. I report to the managing director for electricals UK and Ireland and have a team of 25.

What challenges does HR face in the nextfive years?

There are few differentiators in price, product range and service in my market, so we must find ways to make sure our colleagues offer the best customer service.

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

Get to know and understand your business and then move around the specialist areas within HR to broaden your experience.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Pragmatism – never lose sight of the needs of the business.

And the most overrated?

This year’s model of the Training Emperor’s New Clothes training programme.

What is the worst thing about HR?

All the line managers who think they are HR experts.

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

Being physically prevented from leaving a meeting with an alcoholic and a shop steward, who was worse for wear.

Who is your ultimate guru?

The politician Frank Field for his contribution to social research, common sense and plain speaking.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Window of opportunity’.

What is your essential TV viewing?

Grand Designs, as one day I would like to design and build my own house.

How do you fill your spare time?

I play drums in a rock band and keep fit with racket sports and running.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Tackling a car thief who parted my hair with a flick-knife: he was later caught.

What was the last book you read?

White Bicycles, by Joe Boyd – he discovered and produced many of my musical heroes.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Hooks In You, by Marillion.

What would be your dream job?

Drummer for Steve Winwood’s band.

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

A dinner party, years ago. I arrived late and had to sit opposite my director, who made Eeyore seem cheerful.

Who would play you in the film of your lifeand why?

Sir John Hurt (below) – the most expressive actor of his generation.

Tell us about your top job…

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


Sept 2006 – HR director UK and Ireland Electricals, DSG International

Jan 2006-Sept 2006 – Head of employee relations, people policy and rewards, DSG International

2004-2005 – Vice-president, HR for EMEA, Eagle Global Logistics

1996-2003 – HR director and group HR director for Europe, Ryder

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