The Hot 100 Benefits Managers 2013

Here is our second annual roll-call of the movers and shakers of the benefits industry who have made Employee Benefits headlines, spoken at our events or been involved in the Employee Benefits Awards as a winner or a judge

Salute 100 more top performers

Debi O'DonovanWe are proud to announce, for the second year running, a fabulous line-up of 100 leading players in benefits management. They are the movers and shakers of the benefits industry and are therefore our ‘Hot 100’. Over the next 10 pages, you can see who made this exclusive list, in strict alphabetical order.

These are people who, during 2012, were featured in our magazine or on our website for the great work they are doing with their organisations’ benefits packages; or people who have spoken at our events or taken part in our roundtable discussions; as well as those who won gongs at the annual Employee Benefits Awards in 2012.

They now join our Hot 100 from last year and automatically become members of our 100 Club, which now consists of 200 UK benefits leaders. There is an associated LinkedIn group as well as an invitation-only exclusive party.

For this year’s list, we have deliberately selected people who were not on last year’s list (many of whom continue to provide great contributions to the industry) in order to spread the recognition as wide as possible for the good work that gets done for millions of employees across the land.

Given the huge challenges facing the benefits industry, not least the implementation of auto-enrolment, this year is a great opportunity for benefits practitioners to step up to the plate and maximise this opportunity to show what they can truly bring to their organisations. It is not often that the spotlight is shone on benefits departments like this. It should throw up some cracking names for our list next year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a special thank-you to Employee Benefits’ deputy editor, Debbie Lovewell, who put a tremendous amount of work into pulling this list together. She was ably assisted by our events co-ordinator, Elena Harris, who spent weeks inviting people, gathering biographies and photos and filling last-minute gaps.

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Debi O’Donovan, Editor
Follow on Twitter @DebiODonovan


Mike Acred – pensions manager – performance and reward, LV=

Acred was appointed pensions manager of the LV= Employee Pension scheme in 2011. Before that, he developed the client service manager role for the corporate pensions division of firm London and Manchester (now Friends Life).

He is a member of the Aberdeen Asset Management Advisory Panel and AonHewitt’s development forum.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Pensions and Workplace Savings Summit 2012

Kate Adderley – head of planning and performance, Youth Hostel Association (YHA)

Adderley has been head of planning and performance at YHA for three years. She is responsible for strategic and operational planning, ensuring that strategic business plans and priorities are communicated effectively and key performance indicators and reporting procedures are in place.

Adderley also undertakes key projects aligned to organisational development strategy and managing business risk.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award 2012 winner


John Athanasiou – director of people, HarperCollins Publishers

Athanasiou joined HarperCollins in October 2008. He is responsible for overseeing all areas of talent management, recruitment, staff development and employee relations, plus compensation and benefi ts across the organisation in the UK and internationally.

He came to HarperCollins from Time Warner, where he was director of executive search and recruitment operations – international. He has also worked in a number of HR roles in blue-chip multinational, private and public sector organisations.

Reason in Hot 100: Employer profile


Louise Beardmore – head of organisational development and HR operations, United Utilities.

Beardmore initially joined United Utilities in its operations function, managing business change and transformation across the company’s water and wastewater operational sites.

She moved into HR four years ago as head of employee engagement to define and drive the organisation’s engagement strategy.

She is now head of organisation development (OD) and HR operations, managing all aspects of OD. She is also a senior member of the UK Employee Engagement Task Force.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2012


Louise Bentham – group reward director, Kingfisher

After qualifying as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Bentham spent the first part of her career in finance roles. From there, she moved to Dixons (now Currys, where she spent 13 years, initially in a number of finance roles before becoming group reward director during her last five years with the organisation.

From Dixons, she moved to Tesco, where she spent five years as head of reward and policy. She then moved to her current position at Kingfisher.

Reason in Hot 100: Article case study


Val Bertram – health and wellness manager, Unilever UK and Ireland

Bertram leads Unilever’s UK and Ireland health and wellbeing programme. She has more than 25 years’ experience as a nurse and as a health and wellbeing specialist, gained in a variety ofenvironments. Bertram’s main areas of interest are sustainable behaviour change, physical and mental health. She also has a particular interest in coaching and positive psychology.

At Unilever, the Fit Business Lamplighter Programme, on which she works, gives staff the tools and information to enable them to choose a healthy lifestyle.

Reason in Hot 100: News story


Masha Boldyreva – centre of excellence (COE) compensation and benefits lead, UK and Ireland, Mondelez International

Boldyreva started her career in recruitment and joined a utilities company as an HR graduate. She then moved into a specialist international mobility role before spending 10 years in global mobility roles in the investment banking and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors.

Boldyreva joined Cadbury in 2003 and progressed through a variety of corporate, project and business lead roles.

Reason in Hot 100: Winner of three Employee Benefits Awards 2012, speaker at Employee Benefits Live and Employer profile

Brewer_Gary _2013

Gary Brewer – head of reward and organisational development, William Grant and Sons

Before joining drinks firm William Grant and Sons, Brewer held senior HR and reward roles across various sectors in organisations such as Quintiles and Scottish Widows. He is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Institute of Administrative Management, has had a number of board-level appointments and is a member of the Employment Tribunal service.

Reason in Hot 100: Employer profile


Sharon Brown – assistant human resources director, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner 2012


Gemma Bullivant – head of HR, Bluefin Solutions

Bullivant took up her current post in March 2013, joining Bluefin Solutions from Lebara Mobile, where she was head of HR, reward and engagement.

Before joining Lebara, she held various senior HR roles across a variety of industries, including Channel 4 Television, Johnson Controls, Coca-Cola and Carphone Warehouse.

Bullivant has extensive senior corporate experience in HR, reward and employee engagement. She has run large-scale strategic HR transformation projects. In the field of reward, she has developed and launched several commercially relevant global incentive programmes.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2012


Jim Carson – head of reward, Spire Healthcare

Carson is a commercial HR professional with experience of delivering market-competitive, affordable and sustainable reward solutions in the UK and internationally. His early career was spent developing a working understanding of the HR delivery model, including reward, employee relations, technology and systems.

Leading teams in roles such as HR business partner and reward functional specialist enabled him to extend his contribution to include wider commercial matters and contribute to the acquisition and growth strategy of a number of businesses.

For the last five years, Carson has led the reward function at Spire Healthcare, where he has played a significant role in HR’s contribution to the development of the new business.

Reason in Hot 100: News story


Ian Cloke – vice-president HR, global reward, Unilever

Cloke has 20 years’ experience in global mobility management, gained both in a commerce and consulting capacity. After first qualifying as a chartered accountant, he switched to HR management while working in the banking industry. As a consultant, he worked closely with many expatriate employers, including Procter and Gamble, Shell, Johnson and Johnson and Siemens. As vice-president HR, global reward at Unilever, he has, among other things, responsibility for global mobility policy.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2012

Sue Connelly – global health and wellbeing manager, Astrazeneca
Connelly has been with AstraZeneca for 25 years. From a background that includes working in HR and occupational health, she has developed a counselling and life management programme to support mental wellbeing in the organisation. She has been involved in developing wellbeing initiatives at AstraZeneca, targeting both proactive and reactive interventions.

Reason in Hot 100: Article case study:


Bob Costa – head of executive reward, Vodafone Group

Costa heads the executive reward and share plan teams at Vodafone, where he has been responsible for developing and implementing executive reward policies, managing remuneration committee activities, and leading the delivery of group share plan activities since 2010.

Before that, he spent four years at Unilever as vice-president of executive compensation and global reward, having responsibility for both executive compensation and the development and implementation of global reward policy.

Before starting his corporate reward career in 2006, Costa worked for Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson) for eight years, where he was a senior consultant in the executive compensation practice.

Reason in Hot 100: News story


Rosemary Crabb – senior manager, flexible benefits, Nationwide Building Society

Crabb has worked in a variety of personnel and training roles throughout her career, mainly in the financial services sector but also in retail staff management. She joined Nationwide Building Society in 1996. After a period specialising in absence management, she moved into reward in 2004 and has managed the integrated reward platform and flexible benefits scheme since 2006.

Reason in Hot 100: News story


Lawrence Cramer – head of HR, YHA England and Wales

Cramer is an experienced and strategic HR professional with specialisms in people development, employee engagement and change management. As head of HR at YHA since 2009, he has focused on incremental change.

He is passionate about valuing staff and aligning individual development with organisational objectives and has been instrumental in unprecedented culture change and employee engagement in three organisations in the past 12 years.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner 2012


Melanie Crowther – European compensation and benefits director, Electronic Arts

Crowther has 20 years’ experience across a variety of industries, mainly in the high-tech sector. Formerly an HR generalist, she has specialised in compensation and benefits over the past 12 years.

Crowther is experienced in working with international HR functions and business leaders from a breadth of geographies including Europe, the US and Latin America. She has worked at Electronic Arts for nine years. Her remit is to look after all European reward and benefits needs.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner 2012


David Curtis – group head, pensions and benefits, Standard Chartered Bank

Curtis joined Standard Chartered in November 2003 and is responsible for pensions and benefits strategy and governance across the bank’s 70-plus markets covering 80,000 staff.

Curtis is a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and started his working life at Bacon and Woodrow, where he spent 12 years as a consulting actuary.

He then spent five years at Siemens, heading its UK pension arrangements and five years at Alstom, where he moved from establishing and running its UK pension plan to a global pensions and benefits role.

Reason in Hot 100: News story


Emma Cutbill – benefits manager, Incisive Media

Cutbill is responsible for the sourcing, communication and engagement of benefits for Incisive Media’s 650 UK employees.

She was instrumental in the launch of its in-house flexible benefits portal/programme in 2009 and has built up the benefits on offer to 27 products and services created to appeal to the diverse lifestyles of employees.

She has worked for Incisive since its inception in 1994 and has been benefits manager since 2008.

Reason in Hot 100: Article case study


Rebecca Dalton – HR project manager, YHA

Dalton’s career has been in HR and recruitment with organisations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

She has held many roles in her six years at YHA, most recently as HR project manager, focusing on change, restructuring and terms and conditions. She has also set up and managed a shared services function in the HR department and worked as a regional business partner in London and the south of England.

Before joining YHA, Dalton worked for a sheltered housing and care home organisation.

Previously, she worked for a leading electrical retailer in Australia, specialising in IT recruitment, employee relations and generalist HR.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner 2012


Evan Davidge – head of reward, programmes and data management, Ove Arup and Partners

Davidge specialises in total reward and employee benefits solutions and has wide-ranging experience in financial services, telecommunications, not-for-profit, and central and local government organisations. His career has also included roles at Nationwide Building Society and Carphone Warehouse.

Davidge is a founder partner of Reward Consulting Partners and a specialist reward trainer for the CIPD and World@Work Association.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefi ts Live 2012


Jenny Davidson – director of compensation and benefi ts, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, CSC

Before taking on a wider reward role, Davidson specialised within the UK pensions industry, having worked as a group pensions manager or a consultant for various household names, including Alliance Boots and Novar.

Davidson is also a regular speaker on workplace savings.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Pensions and Workplace Savings Summit 2012


Andrew Deveney – head of reward and HR operations, Cofunds

Deveney took up his current role in November 2010. He is responsible for developing and implementing remuneration strategies and polices, and managing HR operations. Previously, Deveney was group head of remuneration and reward at NYSE Euronext.

Earlier jobs include compensation and benefi ts manager at Liffe and HR manager at BT.

Reason in Hot 100: Article case study


Jill Duggan – head of HR services and reward, Trader Media Group

Duggan has diverse experience across all areas of HR and reward management. She has worked in large structured environments and in growing start-ups, mainly in the technology sector in the UK and across Europe.

She has been with Trader Media Group for nine years.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2012


Jane Earnshaw – head of reward and recognition, Asda

Earnshaw has been with Asda for 17 years. She began her career in the retailer’s company secretariat and is a qualified company secretary.

She was part of the Asda shares team in the late 1990s that introduced the successful all-employee share plan. In 2001, Earnshaw moved into the reward arena and has gained experience in all areas of reward. She has led the reward team for 12 months.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Beneftts Award winner 2012, and Up close profile


Claire Eckett – human resources manager (reward and benefits), University of Reading

Eckett joined the University of Reading more than 10 years ago, initially to work on a project to modernise pay and grading structures and implement job evaluation. In 2012, she project managed the implementation of salary sacrifice arrangements for the university’s pension schemes.

Her role includes the design, delivery, communication and management of the university’s reward and benefits package, job evaluation, equal pay reviews, staff engagement surveys, and project management.

Reason in Hot 100: News story


Rob Edwards – head of HR, The Ashmore Group

Edwards took up his role at investment management firm The Ashmore Group in September 2008.

Previously, he was head of HR at Threadneedle Asset Management. Before that, he was HR manager at Harrods.

Reason in Hot 100: News story and article case study


Andrew Evans – GB compensation and benefits manager, Xerox

Evans has been GB compensation and benefits manager at Xerox since 2010.

After joining Rank Xerox as a sales representative in 1986, he began his direct involvement in compensation by managing the UK sales compensation planning and administration teams, during which time he introduced a sales commission system and gross profit-based sales plans.

Evans joined EMC in 2001 and then Securicor (now G4S) in 2004, where he experienced very different methods of motivating and rewarding employees.

Returning to Xerox in 2006, he managed a Europe-wide project to rationalise and develop compensation plans to suit multiple countries and different internal organisations. His current challenges include the integration of benefits and improving the employee value proposition.

Reason in Hot 100: News story


Paul Farrell – head of group benefits, Virgin Media

Farrell started his reward career as a compensation specialist at AstraZeneca. He then worked in the healthcare market at Bausch and Lomb and UnitedHealth Group, practising both tactical and strategic compensation and benefits.

He has wide and varied reward experience throughout the EMEA region. As head of reward for Virgin Media, his particular areas of focus are risk, health benefits and corporate compensation.

Reason in Hot 100: News story

Giles _Mary_2013

Mary Giles – compensation, benefits and operations manager, Microsoft

Giles joined Microsoft in 1992. She initially joined as an HR associate, before working her way up to her current position. She took on responsibility for HR operations alongside her compensation and benefi ts role in 2007. Prior to joining Microsoft, Giles held the position of HR administrator at PC manufacturer Nippon Steel Computer.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Connect 2012.


Dennis Gissing – head of people and practice, BT

Gissing and his team have overall responsibility for equality and diversity in the company. They have developed a range of people policies and practices that aim to support BT’s business ambitions, while promoting positive values and effortless inclusion within a diverse workforce.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner 2012 and Employer profile


Ann Govier – head of senior remuneration, employee share schemes and global mobility, Marks and Spencer

During her 25 years with Marks and Spencer, Govier has worked across a number of business areas, including retail operations, finance, corporate governance and, most recently, HR. As well as managing the complex subjects of executive remuneration and global mobility, Govier has been instrumental in setting the retailer’s all-employee share scheme strategy, helping to increase share ownership across all age groups in the business.

Govier also developed and implemented one of the UK’s first company-wide financial education programmes.

Reason in Hot 100: Feature article


Joanna Gordon-Utting – reward and benefits manager, Ocado

Gordon-Utting joined Ocado’s HR leadership team in September 2011. With nearly 10 years’ experience in compensation and benefits, she took up the role of reward and benefits manager to progress Ocado’s reward and benefits strategy.

Gordon-Utting began her career in HR by joining Canadian telecoms company Nortel Networks in 2000 after completing Sainsbury’s retail graduate management programme. There she worked on HR projects before becoming Nortel’s UK compensation and benefits manager in 2003. She moved to a similar role at Avaya after Nortel’s Enterprise business was sold in 2009.

Reason in Hot 100: News story and news story


Sue Grant – former – projects manager, global reward, GKN

Grant has more than 25 years of benefits and business process improvement expertise in diverse, dynamic businesses, including areas such as global mobility, employee wellness, health insurance and administrative process review. In 2011 she designed and launched GKN’s bespoke UK benefits scheme, a self-funding benefits programme.

Reason in Hot 100: News story and news story


Jamie Green – global benefits analyst, American Express Services Europe

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Green started his career in pension systems administration/consulting at Mercer and Xafinity before moving to a pension systems implementation role at Nestle. He later broadened his experience into international pensions and benefits management and analysis at global commodities firm Cargill before moving into his current role at American Express.

Reason in Hot 100: