Top job Tim Berkley

What is your new role?
HR director, EMEAC for Guidant, a cardiovascular medical products provider, based in Brussels.
Where were you working before and what were your duties?
I was HR manager for Guidant, responsible for the HR activity in the UK and the Nordic countries.
Do you have CIPD or other qualifications?
I am a member of the CIPD and have a degree in international politics.
What are your duties in your new role? What is the size of your team and who do you report to?
The company is in the process of splitting into two parts, which will be sold to two other medical device companies. Based in the European HQ in Brussels, I will lead the HR aspects of the transition. I will
co-ordinate the 10 HR managers in the countries as they manage the transition locally. Specifically, four people report to me directly – an HR manager in the UK and in the Nordic/Netherlands, an HR assistant and an HR analyst. I report to the vice-president of HR for Europe.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
A transition strategy where employees feel that the process has been managed effectively and they are motivated as they move into the new companies.
What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?
Finding a way through the pensions funding debate, and seeking effective, practical solutions that contribute to improved work-life balance.
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Never lose sight of the individual.
What is the essential tool in your job?
Coaching and listening skills.
And the most over-rated?
E-mail – it hinders as much as it helps.
What is the worst thing about HR?
We haven’t developed a strong identity as
a profession.
Who is your ultimate guru?
Dave Ulrich.
What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?
Touching base.
What is your essential TV viewing?
Have I Got News for You. Also good drama – these days punctuated with Flemish or French subtitles.
Who would you most dislike to work with?
David Brent.
How do you fill your spare time?
With my wife Ali and our three daughters exploring a new country, as well as learning new language skills.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Having a young family and mortgage and leaving a company without a job to go to.
What is your most popular web page? – instant currency conversion. Even in these days of the Euro.
What was the last book you read?
John Peel’s autobiography.
What song gets you on the dance floor?
The Birdie Song – no, not really! Lady in Red is ‘our song’.
What would be your dream job?
HR consultant for a charity organisation such as ‘Care for the Family,’ led by Rob Parsons. The ethos which permeates what
it has achieved and what it is seeking to achieve both inspires me and keeps
me grounded.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Brad Pitt – well, I can dream!
What is the worst (or best) office party you’ve ever attended?
The best Christmas parties were with British Gas HQ, as it was before British Gas was broken up. There were 750 people in the Cumberland Hotel on Oxford Street, London. Good music, great people, good cocktails and fantastic memories.
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Menzies Campbell – I would have time to tell him about my suggestions for the future successful leadership of the Liberal Democrats. Or John Humphries, so that I can interrupt him every time he tries to start a conversation.


Nov 2005 to present HR director, EMEAC (Europe, Middle East, Africa, Canada), Guidant
2003-2005 HR manager, UK/Nordic, Guidant
2001-2003 HR manager, UK/Nordic and emerging markets, Guidant
1996-2001 European HR adviser, personal care, Kimberly-Clark
1995-1996 HR manager, transition, British Gas Home Energy
1991-1993 Assistant personnel manager – HR Services, British Gas
1985-1991 Personnel officer,  British Gas

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