Top job: Shameel Ahmed

What is your current role?

I am the associate director of European HR for Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate firm with around 25,000 staff. I report directly to the European chief HR officer and I have a ‘dotted line’ to the global chief HR officer, who is based in Chicago. My new role is split 50% Europe and 50% global. I am also responsible for the UK payroll team.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

To get the business buy-in on HR initiatives and ensure that HR gains further credibility within Jones Lang LaSalle.

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

I was with Deutsche Bank as vice president, HR management information services, supporting global banking. I drove the centralisation of HR IT services within our group technology and operations division, and later became involved in one of the new HR initiatives. Prior to Deutsche, I held a number of very exciting roles with GlaxoSmithKline’s compensation function, initially supporting the UK, then global research and development. I supported the international sales businesses in my last role.

What qualifications do you hold?

I hold an MBA with distinction as well as BEng (Hons) in aerospace systems engineering. I have always thought about getting my CIPD qualification, but whenever I have reviewed the content, I’ve found so much duplication with the MBA, that I am not sure how much value it would add to my career or knowledge.

What are the challenges facing HR in the next five years?

I think that HR as a function across most industries has come a long way, and is valued for the support and service it provides to the business. However, some of the challenges will include:
– reviewing outsourcing projects: they’ve worked for some, but not others
– moving towards centralisation and shared services, especially in Asia
– deciding how to compensate employees who are becoming both increasingly mobile and willing to live and work in different countries.

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

Always do the right thing. Don’t be afraid to tell senior managers what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear.

Who is your ultimate guru?

There are so many. Peter Raine (head of HR) and Al Mohammadi (store manager) at Superdrug, Dev Raval (vice president, UK compensation) and Allen Powley (vice president, compensation) at GlaxoSmithKline, Dave Konis (HR director) at Deutsche Bank, and Pascal Boulicault (chief HR officer, Europe) at Jones Lang LaSalle.

What is your essential TV viewing?

The Simpsons.

Who would you most dislike to work with?

Ken Livingstone.

How do you fill your spare time?

Lots of DIY, spending time with my 10-month-old son and watching cartoons.

What was the last book you read?

The First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins.

What song gets you on the dancefloor?

Oh, that’s a real tough one – I love music but I will never be seen on the dancefloor.

What would be your dream job?

President of the United States.

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

A Bollywood star. Amitabh Bachan or Shahrukh Khan are two great actors who could ably portray the ups and downs of my life.

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

Most – Rani Mukharjee (Bollywood actress). Least – Ariel Sharon (prime minister of Israel).


2005 – present: Associate director (head of compensation and benefits – Europe), Jones Lang LaSalle
2004 – 2005: vice president, HR management information services, Deutsche Bank
2003 – 2004: international compensation manager, GlaxoSmithKline
2002 – 2003: research and development compensation consultant, GlaxoSmithKline
2001 – 2002: UK compensation consultant, GlaxoSmithKline

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