· 1 min read · Features

Chemring's HR director on 2013 challenges


Moving into an HR director role in a large organisation will always provide challenges, even to the most experienced heads of HR.

In a sector that's facing as many cuts as the defence industry, it's even more of a challenge, especially when HR director is a newly created role, you are also joined by a new CEO and CFO, and the company reports a drop in pre-tax profits of 78% for the year ending October 2012.

But this is the reality for the new HR director of defence group Chemring, Jim Devine (pictured).

Devine assumed his role at the beginning of 2013. The transition has been made easier because of the 'excellent chemistry' between Devine and the new CEO, Mark Papworth.

Devine has spent nearly his whole career in HR, beginning with British Aerospace in 1992 and then 10 years at automotive group Ford of Europe in a range of diverse and increasingly senior HR roles. In 2005 he joined energy firm Centrica, serving as its HR director from 2009.

Devine says his appointment was driven by a need to create an effective organisation after a number of defence acquisitions (16 in the last seven years) made across the globe, and also to leverage the collective talent of the business for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Devine says: "I want to begin by looking inwardly at the whole company and how we are organised as a group. The three Cs – clarity, capability and commitment –are important as they help bring simplicity to the organisational structure of the company.

"Because of the uniqueness and niche work we carry out, it means we have an incredible amount of diversity at Chemring.

"Understanding that diversity has been a priority for me from day one. You only have to look at the countries and places we operate in to realise what a culturally diverse group we are."

He does anticipate difficulties in his role over the next year. "It's an incredibly tough market to be in, mainly because defence budgets have been cut so much. But even though it has been a tough year, I realise there is huge potential, especially as we will be looking for highly intellectual talent and extremely skilled workers."