Stuart joined Dana in 2011 from Shell where he was Vice President, Human Resources for the company’s exploration and commercial businesses based in Houston, Texas. He previously worked in generalist human resources, talent management and leadership development roles for Shell and British Telecom.
Q: What does your role as Group HR Director at Dana involve?
A: I’m responsible for ensuring that Dana is able to attract, develop and retain the best talent in the industry, in order that we can achieve our ambition of becoming a leading oil and gas company. We are focusing on resourcing the organisation, building the necessary processes and systems to support our growth and then build a learning and development culture to enable our employees and leaders to deliver and excel.
Q: What are the best bits of your job?
A: We have, in people terms, a blank sheet of paper to work from. Dana has many areas of culture and people practices that are being developed. This means that there is a huge opportunity to help the business succeed, but do so in a different way, avoiding the negative elements that can often build up in traditional HR organisations. We’re determined that Dana’s HR approach will only focus on activities that either directly support production and revenue, keep people safe and legally compliant, and make people want to work here, or stay working here.
Q: And the worst bits?
A: Deciding what elements we’re not going to tackle right now. There are so many opportunities to help Dana become the business we all want it to be, but like all the support functions we need to be mindful not to overwhelm the system with too many new initiatives and practices. This means that inevitably there will be great ideas and great opportunities that have to be put in the “not yet” category!
Q: What's the most useful piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
A: If you work in a function like HR focus on matching your ambitions to those of the business, rather than creating a function for its own sake. And always hire people who are smarter than you are and challenge you more than you find comfortable!
Q: And the worst business advice?
A: None springs to mind immediately but it’s a real belief of mine that we learn as much from bad bosses, and bad colleagues, as we do from good ones. There have been plenty of practices and approaches that I’ve experienced and promised myself that I’d always make sure I avoided repeating.
Q: When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: Centre forward for Liverpool Football Club, and you never know….well, actually, sadly I do know…!
Q: What's your favourite place to go on holiday?
A: Destin Beach in Florida, it’s stunning.
Q: What or who makes you laugh?
A: I have a 4 year old and an 8 year old comedian at home, but other than my children, the British comedian Jimmy Carr or the legendary American stand-up Bill Hicks.
Q: What's your favourite film and why?
A: The macho answer would be “Who Dares Wins” with Lewis Collins. The slightly more honest answer would be “St Elmo’s Fire”…both classic 1980s movies!
Q: With which historical or fictional character do you most identify and why?
A: My family would probably suggest several members of the TV show “The Simpsons”, but personally I wouldn’t pick anyone in particular, though I like to read about (and admire) leaders who’ve been willing to stand out and be different and brave in their lives.
Q: If you had to describe working at Dana in three words, which would you choose?
A: Different, opportunity-rich and different.