Employee Benefits Awards 2009: Compensation and benefits professional of the year

Michael Rose director of total reward, Aon

The judges felt Michael Rose has made a major contribution to compensation and benefits. Michael’s wide experience throughout his career has enabled him to devise a number of innovative reward ideas, both in the UK and internationally.

He was one of the first to make the link between customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and revenue. While at TSB in 1996, he devised a two-year plan to introduce a customer and employee satisfaction element to the financial measures in the management bonus plan for the bank’s top 1,000 staff. This idea has been adopted by other financial services firms.

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Michael has also had a wide impact on the industry as vicepresident – reward, for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, influencing its policy and research activities and authoring a number of articles on reward. At Aon, Michael was tasked with developing a reward policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the UK business. He strived to maximise the value of reward spend, and saved significant sums of money, often while boosting Aon’s benefits offering. For example, he implemented a flexible benefits scheme that achieved a 90% employee take-up and yielded a net saving of £750,000 a year. He was also responsible for leading the closure of Aon’s defined benefits pension scheme for 1,700 existing UK staff, which saved more than £14 million.

He implemented a total of 12 initiatives to reduce Aon’s compensation and benefits costs. These save the company £25 million a year, while still delivering a comprehensive and competitive reward package for staff.

On winning, Michael Rose said: “It has been a particularly difficult year in terms of the problems the financial services have had to face. But I’m obviously delighted that I’ve won this with the work I did at Aon. We made savings and implemented a whole lot of difficult reward programmes that will be very beneficial to employees.”






  • Ken Lawrie, head of reward, EasyJet Ken Lawrie has more than 20 years’ HR and reward experience. He initially joined Easyjet on a three-month contract to advise on executive pay, but after making a number of recommendations, was asked to stay on to implement his ideas. In his time with the company, Ken has developed a comprehensive strategic approach to reward, which includes the launch of international all-employee share schemes, a new voluntary benefits scheme and new bonus arrangements, among many other initiatives.
  • Neal Blackshire, benefits and compensation manager, McDonald’s Restaurants Neal Blackshire consistently strives to deliver compensation and benefits initiatives that meet business needs, while rewarding employees. He is not afraid to challenge current thinking and best practice ideas in order to devise alternative schemes that better meet the needs of the organisation. For example, in recent years, Neal has rewritten the company’s bonus scheme for restaurant workers to reflect key business measures that can be determined quarterly and result in more frequent payouts to managers. He also devised a discounted cycle scheme when the government’s cycle-to-work initiative proved unsuitable for some members of the company’s workforce.