Top job: Shirley Madin, executive director of HR, Raytheon Systems

Shirley Madin has been appointed executive director of HR at civil and defence electronics company, Raytheon Systems. She joined the company in 2001 from AEA Technology plc, the privatised arm of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

What will be your duties in your new role?

I have recently been appointed to the main board, and I believe that recognises the significant input HR is able to make to the busi-ness. As executive director of HR, I remain responsible for strategy, policy and delivery across the company, and I also contribute to decision making at board level.

What are your qualifications?

More than 25 years’ experience in HR, working through the ranks in the public and private sectors. This has only been possible by keeping up to date with legal and functional developments through regular attendance at courses and conferences.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

I want HR to be a professional, business-focused team that is sought out by leaders, managers and employees because it is recognised as adding value at strategic, operational and personal levels.

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

These range from the difficult situation of discovering a bigamous marriage, to the joy of a lottery winner who continued working as part of my HR team for a couple of weeks to provide a decent handover!

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

Process issues will continue to be outsourced or mechanised efficiently, freeing-up time for HR to be involved where it can add most value to the business.

What is your essential viewing?

Nothing on TV, but I am a Radio 4 addict. Saturday mornings means Home Truths and Sunday mornings means Broadcasting House, the Archers omnibus and possibly Desert Island Discs.

What’s the best thing about HR?

Working with all types of people to improve business performance.

And the worst?

Making people redundant. Even though it is never done lightly and is often in the best interest of the business, it’s always traumatic for the individuals involved.

How do you fill your spare time?

Family, food and fun – combined wherever possible.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

My husband and I swapped roles when our daughter was born. I was more ambitious and became the breadwinner and he became a house-husband. It was a measured risk and it worked.

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

Actively manage your career, aim high, and gain a range of experience and formal qualifications.

What would be your ideal job?

Chef in a good restaurant – I can stand the heat in the kitchen!

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

Julie Walters. She is so accurate at playing gritty, down-to-earth Northerners with a sense of humour.

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

There is no such thing as a bad party.

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

I usually find something in common with most people, but I’d rather not be stuck in a lift at all!

Madin’s CV

2004 Executive director of HR, Raytheon Systems

2001 HR director, Raytheon Systems

1999 General manager HR, AEA Technology

1998 Corporate HR manager, AEA Technol

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