Top job, Steve James, vice-president of HR, Hilton UK and Ireland

Steve James has been appointed vice-president of HR at hotel group Hilton UK and Ireland. He was previously an HR partner at global consultancy Deloitte.

What will be the duties in your new role?
I will be working on maximising our people’s commitment and contribution to Hilton, making their personal and career development ambitions a reality, and building a great place to work.

What is the worst thing about HR?
People who think our role is solely to do the things they are emotionally incapable of doing themselves.

What was the last book you read?
It was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon.

What song gets you on the dance floor?
Tiny Dancer by Elton John.

What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?
Equipping itself to become a true business partner, rather than just talking about being a business partner – otherwise, we may as
well start up that HR outsourcing business right now.

What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Learn how to use Excel – it’s not all about people.

How do you fill your spare time?
Watching Chelsea win the football.

What is your essential TV viewing?
Soccer AM on Sky Sports.

What is the essential tool in your job?
Time to think.

And the most over-rated?
The Blackberry.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Wading through a Cumbrian lake at midnight in search of a box containing a plastic key. Thankfully, those types of ‘team-building’ programmes are less de rigeur these days!

What would be your dream job?
I already spend most of my time in fantastic hotels working with terrific people on interesting projects – once the sun decides to come out, this won’t be far off from being my dream job!

Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Ray Winstone – for his subtle negotiation and influencing skills.


  • 2005 Vice-president HR, Hilton UK & Ireland
  • 1997 HR partner, Deloitte
  • 1996 Senior HR manager, Midas-Kapiti International
  • 1992 HR partner, Deloitte
  • 1989 HR manager, Bovis Construction

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