Securing a Director of Reward for British Airways

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By Rachelle Peard. Published on 16 February 2017


Search assignment: Director of Reward

Client: Kim Pettigrew, Head of People & Organisation Effectiveness, British Airways

Successful candidate: Tim Taylor

Eton Bridge Partners Project Team: Toby Burton, Partner & Charlotte Payne, Researcher


Founded in 1919, British Airways – part of International Airlines Group plc – is one of the world’s leading global premium airlines and the largest international carrier in the UK. Based from Heathrow and operating around the world, British Airways has a fleet of more than 280 aircraft and flies to more than 170 destinations in 70 countries.

In 2015, it made a pre-exceptional operating profit of £1.3 billion, increasing from £975 million in 2014. The company currently employs approximately 40,000 staff and carries more than 40 million customers a year.


By Kim Pettigrew, Head of People & Organisation Effectiveness, British Airways

I found from the beginning that Eton Bridge really understood what we were looking for and Toby asked insightful questions when taking the brief. I think it helped that Toby had managed a similar assignment for John Lewis and that he was therefore in touch with the right talent for a role like this.

I was impressed with the speed at which Toby came up with a long list of candidates and then the pace at which he interviewed and passed them forward to me. Toby shortlisted high-quality candidates for me to see and took feedback well on the ones I didn’t want to take forward – although there wasn’t anyone miles away from the brief.

Once we had appointed Tim as our candidate, I felt Toby was very responsive in contacting him and keeping everyone informed while the contract discussions and the notice period were agreed. Toby also kept in touch with Tim throughout his notice period, right up until Tim’s start date.

In addition, I found the Eton Bridge offices very convenient for interviewing and the team very helpful and responsive

“Throughout the process I felt confident that we would work together to find the right candidate – and we did. Tim has now started at British Airways and is doing really well. Once we announced he was joining us, I received great feedback on him from the wider HR community, which further confirmed the high-quality recruitment process at Eton Bridge.”


By Tim Taylor

How would you describe the initial experience and briefing at interview with Eton Bridge Partners?

From the start I found the experience of working with Eton Bridge enjoyable. This was helped by the consultative nature of the process and the thorough approach that Toby employed, which meant I was always informed about what was happening. Working with Toby and Charlotte felt intuitive; the brief was clear and well communicated, and I had comfort they were experts in the field of reward.

Quality and level of communication from Eton Bridge

The team at Eton Bridge ensured we were in consistent, regular communication throughout the recruitment process. They are a high-touch team and were happy to chat through any issues or questions I had, which was reassuring.

The process was balanced and respectful, and my needs were clearly important to the team; at no point did it seem like they were deferring more to the client’s wishes.

I also felt comfortable with the pace of the process. As the researcher, Charlotte was always fully up to speed and informative, adding real value to the process.

How did Eton Bridge manage expectations in terms of process and likely steps?

My expectations were managed considerately throughout the process. At each stage, Toby was transparent, highlighting likely next steps and outcomes in a clear and logical way.

It was particularly important that we established a high level of trust easily, which meant I had confidence the team was working in my best interest at all times.

Your sense of Eton Bridge’s values and professionalism

“It’s clear that the team at Eton Bridge place huge value in relationships and this made the experience a rewarding one. They were focused and professional throughout, but they were also friendly, demonstrating real care. Their service was tailored to my needs – reflecting the strength of the relationships they establish.”

How was your overall candidate experience?

I was very pleased with my overall experience working with Toby, Charlotte and the team at Eton Bridge. Throughout the process I viewed them as trusted advisors. They have a deep knowledge of reward and place strong emphasis on finding the right cultural fit for both parties. I would certainly recommend Eton Bridge and look forward to working with the team if I recruit others in the future.