The Journey from HRD to NED

The Journey from HRD to NED
Published: 17 September 2019

On Thursday 12th September, we were delighted to host the Berwick Partners HR Leadership Dinner at Tower 42 in London. The theme for the event was The Journey from HRD to NED.  

The event was attended by numerous senior HR leaders, from a broad range of industry sectors, who came to hear from Debbie Hewitt, MBE. Debbie’s executive career took her from HR Director of the RAC to their CEO. Today, she is the Non-Executive Chairman (NED) of The Restaurant Group plc, Visa Europe, BGL (owners of, as well as fashion retailer, White Stuff Ltd.

Debbie was awarded her MBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours List for her “Services to Business and the Public Sector”.

She began her speech by giving us an introduction to her career and the route she took from HRD to CEO, through to becoming a NED and Chair. Over the course of her career, she has sat on boards in ten different sectors and she felt this breadth enhances her effectiveness.

Debbie then went on to explore:

  • the myths of being a NED and that board meetings are not all about strategy;
  • why the ability to synthesise large amounts of information and the ability to pick your moments are key to being effective in role;
  • the importance of having a broad network, including professional advisors, head-hunters and one’s own Board; and
  • the impact of the Hampton Alexander review and, whilst the right thing to do, one needs to be careful of the law of unintended consequences.

Debbie’s speech was followed by some engaging questions from the guests, provoking interesting conversation. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and we would like to thank Debbie once again for her time. We are looking forward to hosting another HR leadership event in London soon.

For more information on our events programme, please sign up to our mailing list or please contact Basil leRoux, Partner and Head of the Human Resources practice at Berwick Partners.

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