Following his graduation with an MA in French and Spanish from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, 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 Radisson SAS and Inter-Continental. After seven 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 seven-year period, culminating in his appointment as head of Talent and Management Development for Universal Music International. 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 OD project management role for Barclays’ UK Retail Bank, and was promoted twice within two years, ending his time 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 Interpublic, one of the world’s major advertising groups, in 2006, starting his career with IPG in one of their two media divisions (at that time known as Universal McCann) as HR director, EMEA. He assumed additional EMEA responsibility for the second media division, Initiative, on the formation late in 2007 of IPG Mediabrands, which amalgamated all IPG media assets under one roof. Alastair was moved into the global chief HR officer role in March 2010, subsequently supporting the global business and its 12,500 people through a series of major transformational shifts in what is today one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-paced industries. Alastair lives in South West London with his wife and two teenage children, splitting most of his working time between there and New York, where IPG Mediabrands is headquartered.