Employee Benefits’ Hot 100 list of benefits managers for 2014

The Hot 100 comprises the movers and shakers in the benefits industry who have made our headlines, contributed to feature articles, were award judges and winners, or event speakers during the previous year. This year, the list also includes individuals featured in previous years who have continued to blaze a trail for great work within the industry and who have demonstrated ongoing support to Employee Benefits throughout 2013.

Congratulations to the 2014 Hot 100 benefits managers’ — read Employee Benefits’ Editor Debi O’Donovan’s take on this year’s Hot 100.

The challenges and learning curve for anyone in this role are enormous’ — read Hot 100 sponsor Lorica Employee Benefits’ take on this year’s list.

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Rachel Abbott, John Lewis

Rachael Abbott

reward manager, benefits, John Lewis Partnership

Abbott has worked for the John Lewis Partnership for 31 years, the first 15 of which were spent across three John Lewis branches, mainly as a department manager. She then moved into John Lewis’ head office as an assistant buyer for five years before joining the personnel function. Her first role in personnel was assistant staff and training manager before moving on to project management roles, mainly around managing the personnel elements of new shop openings. Two years ago, she joined the corporate division to lead on the benefits proposition for the partnership. 

Reason in Hot 100: Article case study – The motivational impact of sports and social clubs

Jo Steer, Marks and Spencer

Ed Airey 

UK reward manager, RSA

Airey has more than a decade’s experience in reward and joined RSA in 2012 as UK reward manager. His responsibilities include RSA’s flexible benefits offering, as well as all other UK-wide reward-related matters.
Before joining RSA, Airey was at Deloitte for 11 years, having  joined as a graduate actuary in the pensions team. During this time, he worked on a number of projects with a focus on mergers and acquisitions for both corporate and private equity clients in the FTSE 100 and 250.  After six years, he transitioned to a wider reward consultancy role, also at Deloitte.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2013

Anouk Agussol, Holiday Extras

Anouk Agussol

head of people, Holiday Extras

Agussol has worked for Holiday Extras for six years and is passionate about making a difference and finding new and better ways to deliver traditional HR, so she drives creative thinking from the team she works with. Agussol focuses on innovating, designing and implementing people initiatives.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner

Emily Austin, Hertfordshire County Council

Emily Austin

HR pay and reward manager, Hertfordshire County Council

Austin has more than 12 years’ experience of HR within local government, with a specialism in pay and reward management. 
Having won public and private sector awards, the Hertfordshire HR service, which covers more than 30,000 people, works to ensure people, and good people management, are at the centre of the council’s business.

Austin is the lead on the council’s pay and reward strategy. She and her team are responsible for driving the reward agenda to build the employee brand and ensure the council recruits and retains the best people to deliver excellent services to the community. 

Her recent achievements include the introduction of performance- related increments for more than 20,000 employees as part of a review of all terms and conditions, and the successful introduction of Herts Rewards, the council’s total reward package.

Reason in Hot 100: Employer profile and news story Hertfordshire Council to launch benefits portal

Rachel Bern

international compensation and benefits manager, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Bern began her role at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in August last year. International compensation and benefits manager is a new role, and involves working with non-UK offices on their compensation and benefits offerings. Previously, Bern held international reward roles at NBC Universal, Rexam and a European compensation and benefits role at Coca-Cola. She began working in HR at Coca-Cola’s European Group in 2006.

Reason in Hot 100: People moves news story

John Beadle

John Beadle 

vice-president, performance and reward, Rio Tinto

Beadle’s portfolio includes board and executive reward, employee reward, benefits, international mobility and performance management. He has more than 20 years’ experience in reward and HR management in the consumer goods, financial, information technology, natural resources and pharmaceutical industries, working in Asia, Europe, the UK and US. He was vice-president, reward, for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in 2008 and was made a Companion of the Institute in 2010.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Connect 2013

Elaine Beavis

reward director, Europe, Sita.aero

Beavis took up her current role in September 2013. She previously spent two years at British Gas as reward director. Before that, she was at the Walt Disney Company for 10 years in a range of compensation and benefits roles, and has also held HR roles at Safeway Stores.

Reason in Hot 100: People moves news story

Jeremy Bennett

Jeremy Bennett

head of reward, TMF Group

Bennett joined TMF Group as head of reward in May 2013 and is responsible for overseeing global reward strategy across the business’s 114 offices. Before joining TMF, his career was in financial services, spending five years at Barclays Bank where he was a senior reward manager in the retail and business bank (RBB) functions team. Before that, he spent three years at private equity firm 3i and four years in consultancy at McLagan Partners.

Reason in Hot 100: People moves news story

Caroline Briffet

Caroline Briffett

reward and benefits manager, Herbert Smith Freehills

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2013

Adam Brooke, JP Morgan

Adam Brooke

employee benefits and wellness manager, JP Morgan

Brooke spent the first 13 years of his career at the John Lewis Partnership, working through the various disciplines of HR before being asked to carry out a project on the partnership’s benefits. This led to the creation and implementation of a brand (PartnerChoice) and communication strategy that encompassed existing and new benefits. Brooke then spent three years at law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer implementing and managing its flexible benefits scheme (Benefits Plus) before joining JP Morgan in 2011 as employee benefits and wellness manager.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner , and article case study JP Morgan revamps flex to suit staff

Kim Brosnan

Kim Brosnan 

group talent director, Which?

Brosnan joined Which? as group talent director in July 2009. Previously, she held senior HR roles at the Financial Times, including interim global HR director and global head of change and development. She has worked in a variety of HR roles in a number of sectors, including advertising, utilities and local government. At Which?, she has responsibility for attracting, retaining and developing great people.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Live speaker 2013

Margot Burleton

Margot Burleton

head of reward, Mitie Group

Burleton has been head of reward at Mitie Group for more than two years. She was previously group reward manager at BG Group for six years and spent 11 years as a consultant at Towers Perrin.

Reason in Hot 100: Employer profile

Jay Butler, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Jay Butler 

health and wellbeing manager, UK and Ireland, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Butler joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch in June 2005. She leads the UK and Ireland’s health and wellbeing programme and integrated health services, focusing on proactive and reactive interventions. She was previously a recruitment manager for a global technical and professional services firm.

Reason in Hot 100: News story Bank of America extends smoking cessation plan

Jackie Buttery

Jackie Buttery

head of reward, Eversheds

Buttery joined Eversheds in August 2013 after spending eight years at rival law firm Freshfields. Her current responsibilities include the development and delivery of Eversheds’ reward and employee benefits strategy across its UK and overseas operations, including Asia and the Middle East. Buttery’s key areas of interest in previous roles have included strategies around the promotion of total reward and the delivery of health and wellbeing services. Buttery was a member of the winning Benefits Team of the Year at the Employee Benefits Awards 2013.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner, article case study Freshfields GP service reduces absence and Employee Benefits Award judge

Rashree Chhatrisha, Coca Cola

Rashree Chhatrisha

benefits manager, Coca Cola Enterprises

Chhatrisha is a qualified solicitor and has more than 15 years’ HR consulting experience, including working at PWC and Mercer HR. She now specialises in reward strategy and employee benefits at Coca-Cola Enterprises.

She is responsible for all UK benefits within a European reward team that manages compensation and benefits across the EU. She has experience in project management, managing providers and implementation of benefit programmes.

Reason in Hot 100: News story Coke sees 12% auto-enrolment opt-out

Dominic Ceraldi 

head of HR, Pimlico Plumbers

In the six years since Ceraldi joined Pimlico Plumbers, he has built its HR function from scratch, working closely with the managing director on key strategic issues, such as identifying ways to take the business forward. Before joining Pimlico Plumbers, Ceraldi spent nearly four years as HR manager at Southbank Employers’ Group, where he was responsible for managing all aspects of the project, from HR issues, performance, employee management and finance to the development of a cohesive management group.

Reason in Hot 100: Article case study Pimlico Plumbers uses face-to-face auto-enrolment strategy

John Chilman

John Chilman

group reward and pensions director, FirstGroup

Chilman, a chartered accountant, has held financial roles at PWC, South Western Electricity and Shell. He joined FirstGroup in 1999 to consolidate and redesign its pension and reward offerings. After two years at HBOS as group head of reward, he returned to FirstGroup in late 2005 as group reward and pensions director.

He is a trustee of the £20 billion Railways Pension Scheme, chairman of its investment committee, and a non-executive director of RPMI and Railpen Investments. He is also a trustee of FirstGroup’s pension arrangements in the US and Canada.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Pensions Summit 2013 , and Employee Benefits Award winner

Gail Cingolani

Gail Cingolani

reward consultant, BGL Group

Cingolani has worked in reward and benefits for over 10 years.

She joined BGL in 2007 as reward and benefits manager, and was was responsible for the roll-out of its My Wellbeing programme, which was shortlisted for an Employee Benefits Award in 2011.

Before joining BGL, Cingolani worked for Campbell’s Grocery Products as European compensation and benefits analyst. She has also held various HR roles in areas such as graduate recruitment. In her current role, her main focus is to deliver a reward strategy to meet the requirements of BGL’s business.

Reason in Hot 100: News story BGL Group hosts benefits fairs

Mark Cliff

head of pensions, Manchester Airports Group (MAG)

Cliff joined MAG as head of pensions from PWC in January 2013 ahead of MAG’s acquisition of London Stansted airport. MAG has had a busy year in pensions, with the setting up of a new £100 million final salary scheme at Stansted. MAG has also undertaken a wide-ranging pension engagement campaign as part of appointing a new defined contribution (DC) provider ahead of auto-enrolment from September 2013.

Before joining MAG, Cliff provided advice on corporate pensions, working in the ‘big four’ accountancy firms from 2000 to 2013.

Reason in Hot 100: News story Stansted Airport staff given new pension schemes

Debra Corey, PageGroup

Debra Corey

global rewards director, PageGroup

Corey is an experienced senior international compensation and benefits professional who has been performing compensation and benefit roles for over 20 years. She began her career in the US working in various large organisations, working her way up the compensation career ladder. When she moved to the UK in June 1998 with Gap for a two-year expatriate assignment, her career path changed and she entered the world of international compensation and benefits.

Since then, Corey has held European and global roles in organisations such as Gap, AS Watson, Honeywell, Morrisons, Quintiles and Merlin Entertainments. She began her current role as group rewards director for PageGroup at the end of 2013. She won the Employee Benefits Award for Professional of the Year in 2012.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Connect 2013, employer profile , Employee Benefits Awards judge, and speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2013

Chris Coyne

Chris Coyne

group head of reward and HR services, City and Guilds

Coyne joined City and Guilds in 2008 after a broad career in HR, systems and training, and time in the Royal Navy as a commissioned officer. He has a degree in organisational studies and an MSc in strategic HR management. Within City and Guilds, he has a remit to deliver a global reward strategy to support a significant period of organisational development and growth. He has recently taken on responsibility for establishing an HR service centre covering operations and systems, health and safety, employee relations and recruitment..

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Connect 2013

Simon Cumpsty, Dairy Crest

Simon Cumpsty

head of employee relations and reward, Dairy Crest

Cumpsty is an employee relations specialist and reward professional with over 10 years’ experience of dealing with trade unions and collective bargaining and pensions consultations at a national level. He has managed annual pay and bonus reviews; annual pay negotiations, job grade and salary range implementations; relaunched and reinvigorated voluntary benefits programmes; and led Tupe transfer consultation processes.

Reason in Hot 100: News article 8% opt out for auto-enrolment at Dairy Crest

Ian Cunning, LCH Clearnet

Ian Cunning

head of reward, LCH.Clearnet

Cunning recently joined LCH.Clearnet as head of reward, and is responsible for all reward, payroll and management information activity across the group. Before joining LCH.Clearnet, he worked in senior reward roles in the retail banking sector with HSBC and Santander, where he was responsible for the delivery of reward initiatives in the UK and Europe.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Awards judge

Brian Cunningham, BMW Group

Brian Cunningham

head of insurance and purchasing, BMW Group (UK)

Cunningham took on the newly created role of head of insurance and purchasing for BMW Group (UK) in 2013, having spent seven years at BMW as general manager of insurance and risk. His new department has responsibility for indirect purchasing, insurance management, employee benefits and risk management. In addition to his core role, Cunningham is a director of BMW (UK) Operations Pension Scheme. He is also an member of BMW’s investment committee, audit and governance committee and chairman of another legacy pension scheme. He played a prominent role in the BMW team that picked up two awards at the 2013 Employee Benefits Awards, including the Grand Prix.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Grand Prix award winner and winner of Best stress management programme

Kirsty Derry

group HR director, 2 Sisters Food Group

Derry joined 2 Sisters Food Group more than three years ago. She moved from her previous role as UK HR director at Molson Coors Brewing (UK), where she worked for more than three years. Before that, she spent three years as HR director at Coors Brewers.

Reason in Hot 100: News story 2 Sisters Food Group to launch voluntary perks

Ian Drysdale

HR director, Glenmorangie

Drysdale joined The Glenmorangie Company over 25 years ago. Before that, he spent seven years at the Marathon Oil Company as senior employee relations representative and senior employee relations adviser.

Reason in Hot 100: Article case study Glenmorangie finds right platform for pension communications

Steve Exall, BT Technology

Steve Exall 

HR employee relations manager, BT Technology, Service and Operations

Exall, a graduate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, joined BT in September 1988 and has held a variety of roles within HR, specialising in employee relations from 2000 to date. His remit also includes helping to drive BT’s health and wellbeing agenda, with a particular focus on mental health. He has specific responsibility for health and wellbeing and is the wellbeing lead for BT Technology, Service and Operations.

Reason in Hot 100: Speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2013

Verona Farquharson

reward and benefits manager, RAC

Following the sale of RAC to Carlyle Group in 2011, Farquharson was responsible for the development of a standalone reward function and the acquisition of external service providers for key compensation and benefits provisions. During 11 years in the HR industry, Farquharson has worked as an HR generalist, specialising in compensation in 2010.

Reason in Hot 100: Article case study Good homework drives RAC’s flex provider decision

Jane Fenwick, Shire Pharmaceuticals

Jane Fenwick

head of global benefits, Shire Pharmaceuticals

Fenwick joined Shire’s total rewards team in February 2012. Before that, she held similar positions at Marks and Spencer, Cable and Wireless and GlaxoSmithKline. She has specialised in international compensation and benefits for 13 years.

Reason in Hot 100: Employer profile , Up close personal profile and news stories Shire Pharmaceuticals streamlines flexible benefits , and Shire Pharmaceuticals changes perks in flexible benefits plan

Stephen Field, Transport for London

Stephen Field

director of pensions and reward, Transport for London

At Transport for London (TFL), Field is responsible for defining and delivering short-, medium- and long-term people strategy relating to performance management, reward and pensions. He took up his current role in July 2013, after serving as head of reward and pensions at TFL for more than five years.
Before joining TFL, Field was group pensions manager at the Automobile Association. His other previous roles include pensions manager at Centrica.

Reason in Hot 100: People moves news story

Martin Flavell, Finmeccania UK

Martin Flavell

vice-president of HR, Finmeccanica UK

Flavell has more than 20 years’ HR experience at director level in the aerospace, defence, security, software and telecommunications sectors. He has experience of operating in international joint ventures and working within international organisations and has had wide-ranging involvement with employee benefits programmes, organisational development initiatives, management development, policy and process development, restructuring and performance management.

Flavell is chairman of trustees of the AgustaWestland UK Pension Scheme and of Finmeccanica FuturePlanner. He is also a trustee director of the Selex Pension Scheme.

He is a non-executive director of EEF.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner and speaker at Employee Benefits Live 2013

Amber Garner, Home Retail Group

Amber Garner

benefits manager, Home Retail Group

Garner began her HR career in in 2006 when she joined Argos as a benefits administrator, responsible for voluntary benefits and sharesave.

Argos merged with Homebase in 2006, which brought a natural progression to her role with the new Home Retail Group. In 2010, Garner was appointed employee share plan co-ordinator, which enabled her to manage and implement all employee share plans, including executive reward plans, for the group.

In 2011, Garner became benefits manager for Home Retail Group, responsible for sourcing, administration, implementation and communications for all group benefits and share plans for about 50,000 employees.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner See also Employee Benefits award win increases staff engagement

Laura Garnett, Virgin Media

Laura Garnett

reward business partner, Virgin Media

Garnett has been with Virgin Media for five years. She held a number of HR project management roles before moving into the reward team in 2012 as reward business partner. In Virgin’s reward team, Garnett has worked across employee benefits, pensions and compensation.
Previously, Garnett was HR manager for a flagship Marks and Spencer store and worked in employee engagement and internal communications for British Gas.

Reason in Hot 100: Employee Benefits Award winner

Karen Gaynor, Siemens

Karen Gaynor

head of compensation and benefits, Siemens

Gaynor spent four years as head of reward at Siemens UK and north-west Europe before becoming head of compensation and benefits. Before that, she worked as HR director, Siemens, partnering Siemens’ healthcare operations division from 2008 to 2009, and HR manager, Siemens Magnet Technology from 2005 to 2008. She first joined Siemens in 2000, and other roles have included senior HR adviser – projects, Siemens Energy Services; senior HR business partner, Siemens Energy Services; and personnel officer, Siemens Communications.

Reason in Hot 100: Up close and personal profile article

Susan Gee, Yorkshire Water

Susan Gee

manager of employee health and wellbeing, Yorkshire Water

Before Gee took up her current role at Yorkshir