Following graduation with an MA in French and Spanish from Saint Andrews University, Alastair began his professional career in the hotel industry, where he held a number of generalist Human Resources and Management Development roles for companies such as Forte, Thistle and Inter-Continental. After 7 years, he opted for a change of scene and moved to the International HQ of PolyGram, later to become Universal Music Group, where he continued to progress his career through a series of HR specialisms over another 7 year period, culminating in his appointment as Head of Talent and Management Development for Universal Music International, where among other achievements, he designed and launched a development programme for senior high-potential leaders – a programme that, due its success and effectiveness, survives to this day. In the firm belief that a broad base of experience makes for a more rounded and balanced approach, he moved sector again to take up an organisational development project-management role for Barclays’ Retail Bank, and was promoted twice within two years, ending his stint there as Head of HR for not only Barclays’ UK Contact Centres, but also their Home Finance and General Insurance businesses, overseeing HR operations for approximately 7,000 employees in a highly complex and regulated industry.
Alastair joined Universal McCann as European HR Director in 2006, where his initial focus was on ensuring that all employees understand and own their accountability for delivering best-in-class service to colleagues and clients alike. He assumed additional responsibility for Initiative within Europe on the formation of Mediabrands late in 2007, and was moved into the global Chief HR Officer role in March 2010.