Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CHRO Community

Helen Cook

Chief People Officer


Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

Following a graduate banking programme, I ended up in a graduate recruitment role at what is now Deutsche Bank. Whilst there I grew the breadth of my role into reward, BP work and ops experience in the UK, US and Europe. I moved to Morgan Stanley after 6 foundational years at DB, and there I moved to a different area of banking to look after the markets business for Europe. 

At the age of 30, my husband had to be moved to Scotland, and I followed, and set up my own consultancy, which was a defining experience during which I realised I was a corporate citizen. This path led me to RBS (now NWG), where I have spent the last 20 years in 7 different roles across all front office HRD roles, OE (talent, D&I, leadership) and reward and performance. I was made CHRO in April 2017.

Learn more about leaders in the UK & Ireland CHRO community here.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

There is no better approach than authenticity.

With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CHRO going in the next 1-2 years?

The role now is about holistic colleague experience (work, workplace and workspace) and incorporating the whole person — home and work is a key facet of all we do.

What advice would you give to someone just starting in the role as a CHRO?

Ensure what you do motivates you — it is a long, fun but bumpy road... Your role needs to include things that genuinely motivate outside of any incentives.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

I love hockey, Kenya, and have a passion for good red wine.

What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta?

Breadth of network, external insights about our profession and agendas, access to insights from market leading speakers from industry and academia, ability to grow the professional network.



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