Natalie Bickford, group HR director, Merlin Entertainments Group


Natalie Bickford
Natalie Bickford, group HR director, Merlin Entertainments Group
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Natalie Bickford is group HR director at Merlin Entertainments Group

After graduating in French and international relations from the University of Warwick in 1992, Natalie Bickford developed a varied HR career with roles in high-profile companies such as Kingfisher, Barclays and AstraZeneca.

In 2008 she joined Sodexo as HR director for the UK & Ireland, transforming the company’s approach to diversity and equality in particular. During her time as HR director Sodexo was recognised by a number of third party organisations for its diversity agenda, and was ranked number one in 2010 by Diversity Inc in the top 50 companies for diversity.

Bickford has also won a number of personal awards for her commitment to diversity and inclusion. These include recognition as a diversity champion by the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion, and the Working Mums Champion Award in 2012 for her commitment to championing working mums. She is also the chair of Women 1st, which promotes the role of women within the industry. She is deputy chairman of People 1st, the sector skills council for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism.

In September 2012 she was promoted to human resources director for Sodexo on-site service solutions Europe, with responsibility for 150,000 Sodexo employees across 24 countries. In 2014 Bickford became global HR director, corporate services with Sodexo.

In April 2016 Bickford joined Merlin Entertainments as group HR director, where she has full accountability for the people strategy across 130 visitor attractions spanning Europe, North America and Asia.

Bickford lives on a farm in the New Forest, Hampshire with her husband and two children, and enjoys cycling, skiing and horse riding.

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