March 10, 2017
Chief Human Resources Officer at Cofra Holding
Helen Wyatt currently hold the position as CHRO at Cofra Holding, based in Zug. Helen has 30 years of Human Resources experience from the Consumer Goods and Information Technology industries as well as a broad and deep expertise in all facets of HR, coupled with strong business acumen and multi-cultural sensitivity.
Areas of Expertise:
Meningitis UK (engaged on a personal level)
Interview for Helen Wyatt
Yes, I have always been in HR. I studied Business and specialized in Industrial Relations, during my degree I spent a year with IBM in HR. I decided upon HR as a career because I was attracted by helping the business to acquire and develop the best talent.
Most of my experience has been with large Corporates like Motorola, Hewlett Packard and Unilever. I was at HP during the merger with Compaq and at Unilever when Best Foods was acquired. Most recently I was CHRO for a smaller privately held Family Business, 120 years old, based in Geneva.
One of the most common challenges is to be able to truly leverage the new skills and capabilities that are acquired. Often there is “organ rejection” of the new talents particularly when the organization cultures are very different.
Be absolutely clear about how you want to leverage the new skills and capabilities you have acquired and pay close attention to the organization culture you want to create. The organization’s leaders will need to embody this in all their behaviors.
It’s vital to have an inspiring vision and a clearly communicated plan of how to achieve this which will engage employees. It’s also important that individuals understand how they personally can contribute and play their part to deliver the plan.
In my experience the more flexibility you give individuals the greater level of commitment, engagement and performance you get in return. So, I am a big fan of this approach. I once had a Director of Rewards role at HP reporting me which was staffed by two individuals who were job sharing, my experience was that effectively had 24/7 coverage for this role.
I think it’s important that individuals have clear holiday entitlement, otherwise in some cultures there could be unspoken pressure not to take holiday. I believe that you get the best performance when individuals are able to have good work life balance and that includes being able to take holidays.
Being clear about what is expected of them in terms of deliverables and being given the tools and the ability to develop key skills and capabilities.
One of the biggest challenges is that we still do not appreciate diversity fully, men and women are wired differently. Often women will have a different approach to a business challenge and will be able to achieve the same or a better result than their male colleagues, this isn’t always recognized or understood. Women should spend less time trying to emulate the male approach, it’s the end result which is most important.
I think it’s important to be clear on the priorities and focus on them, otherwise the workload can be overwhelming. It’s also important to keep things in context. I often think of the Steven Covey quote “Nobody ever had on their gravestone, I wish I had spent more time at the office” life regrets are about relationships and never about the meeting you didn’t attend of the report you didn’t write.
I am not sure I would focus on one, but I am proud of the fact that throughout my career I have been able to stay true to my values of treating all individuals with whom I have been in contact with…. with dignity and respect. In HR you often have to do some tough things but if you are able to do this with humanity that’s important. I would say I am more Human than Resources.
Have a career plan, set yourself some goals and have milestones. I planned to be an HR manager by 30 and made it at 28, a Vice President by 40 and made it by 38, a CHRO by 50 and made I at 51. If you set the milestones you are often able to get there earlier.
Peninah Thomson OBE, she is a mentor, coach and friend of mine. Peninah set up the FTSE 100 mentoring programme for Senior Female Executives. This programme has been instrumental in getting more females appointed as NED’s to Boards. Peninah has truly made a difference and I really admire this.
I would say make a career plan, but don’t be 100% fixated on building your cv, be open to new opportunities and what life will throw at you. Take time to “smell the roses” and really enjoy your successes, but most of all remember that there is nothing more important than your health and family.
“We were delighted with the services that Bluebox offered us. Bluebox’s attention to detail through their Diamond Programme ensured that we were well prepared for when the business was taken to market and that the sale process itself was managed expertly.
We challenged Bluebox with finding the right strategic buyer and thereafter negotiating a deal that met our requirements. In helping initially to identify and to secure the deal with Mountville Mills they accomplished just that. Communication throughout was excellent and professional, managing each stage of the process. I would have no hesitation in recommending Bluebox to any corporate shareholder or private business owner looking to divest their business.”
Richard Millward, Former Client
“We were delighted with the services that Bluebox offered us. Bluebox were challenged with finding us the right strategic investor and, thereafter, negotiating a deal that met our complex requirements. In identifying and securing the deal with LGC they have done exactly that. The process itself was efficient and smooth, largely due to the excellent communication from the Bluebox team, who also demonstrated excellent experience at managing a very engaging auction process. I would be delighted to recommend Bluebox to any corporate shareholder or private business owner looking to divest a business.”
Helen Dickinson, Former Client
It has been a real privilege working with the team at Bluebox over this last year or so. Bluebox’s attention to detail ensured that we were well prepared for when the business was taken to market and the sale process itself was managed expertly. Starting the process, I had no idea exactly what this would entail and the volume of work that has been produced by everyone and the result reached today is nothing short of brilliant.
Hugh Morris, Former Client
We are delighted with the services that Bluebox was able to offer. They showed an intimate knowledge of a deal cycle, managed a tight auction process and were highly communicative from the start. I would happily recommend Paul and his team to business owners contemplating a sale of their business in the next 24 months. Experience is key and this has paid off for us.
Laurence Seward, Former Client
Aligning ourselves early with Bluebox, and entrusting the team to guide us through their process proved to be a highly rewarding investment from all viewpoints. Bluebox’s support significantly enhanced both the value of our business and its ‘saleability’. I would highly recommend Bluebox to business owners contemplating an exit in the next two years. The earlier the engagement the better so far as I am concerned.
Mike Minett, Former Client
We began working with Bluebox in early 2015 through their Blue Diamond Programme, as we were contemplating an exit. We found that the process focussed our minds on the key areas of growth in the business, and prepared us well for the inevitable rigours of due diligence. During the sale process itself, the advice offered by the Bluebox team was invaluable. We found them to be helpful, straightforward and honest.
David Stokes, Former Client
When selecting our adviser, it was extremely important that they had access to international buyers and were experienced in cross-border M&A. The team at Bluebox proved to be invaluable by identifying a strategic acquirer from America who was not known to us and by negotiating an excellent deal for all parties. I was also impressed with the process management from Bluebox, which ensured that the deal was closed in a timely fashion.
Jeff Weinstein, Former Client
When I first engaged with Bluebox, I was hesitant as to the benefits of using an advisor to firstly, find a buyer for my business and secondly, to get a deal over the line. However, now that the deal has completed with KPM, I can honestly say that the finer negotiation points handled by Bluebox and their overall management of this process has been nothing short of first class. I would be delighted to recommend Bluebox’s services to any entrepreneur contemplating the sale of their business.
Bill Ballard, Former Client
Bluebox worked closely with us over the following six months and helped us to implement some key initiatives which made InferMed a more attractive acquisition target. Once we decided to sell the business, the Bluebox team were very diligent in ensuring that no stone was left unturned. They negotiated expertly on our behalf to ensure we got the best deal possible.
Alan Montgomery, Former Client
The pre-sale planning programme that we signed up for with Bluebox made us develop our strategies and focus on the bigger picture. It proved to be a very rewarding investment from all viewpoints and significantly enhanced both the value of our business and its ‘saleability’. I would highly recommend Bluebox to business owners contemplating an exit in the next two years.
Nigel Parsons, Former Client
I have experienced first hand the value that can be created through highly structured pre-sale planning. It amazes me that it is not something that everyone does. It is so disappointing to see around 90% of transactions collapse before they complete and pre-sale planning will not only enhance your price, but also significantly enhance your chance of a closed deal.
James Caan, Investor
We worked incredibly closely with our advisers who provided expert knowledge of the sale process with which we were not familiar. We were truly delighted with the results.
Marten Nielson, Former Client
We appointed advisers to manage the sales process after we had received a number of unsolicited approaches for the business. I was incredibly impressed by the immense value that could be created by expertly negotiating with a group of already interested parties.
Paul Duckworth, Former Client
I was delighted with the service that the team offered and their real attention to detail. The deal was not without its complexities and it was reassuring to have such experienced advisers assisting me throughout the negotiations.
Peter Bennett, Former Client
Truly delighted with the way my sale process was managed. The fact that the team I worked with achieved such a great multiple is testament to their experience and their ability to create some true competitive tension.
James Averdieck, Gü, Former Client
The team at Bluebox provided invaluable support in negotiating this complex transaction. Their access to international purchasers, and exceptional knowledge of cross border M&A ensured that the deal was concluded efficiently, achieving a highly successful outcome for us all.
Jon Parslow, Former Client
“We selected Bluebox after a fairly long round of evaluating potential advisors because of their scientific, yet challenging approach to maximising value. During our initial meetings they showed us how far short of “ready” we were and consequently we completed more preparation in the early stages which meant we were equipped for what was to come. We were delighted with our choice of Corporate Finance partner. I do not hesitate in recommending Bluebox for any SME to consider.”
Simon English, Former Client
Bluebox provided invaluable advice in managing the negotiations with incoming investors. Their skills in handling these discussions were evident from the outset and the vital interface that they provided between the incumbent team and the incoming investors was truly beneficial.
Henry Braham, Former Client
Bluebox have a professional, dynamic and experienced team that is greatly assisting me with my focus on my exit within the next 24 months. Their structured approach is very refreshing and their ‘Blue Diamond’ programme is adding immense value.
Matt Evans, Former Client
The team at Bluebox provided me with a seamless service from the start of the engagement until our deal was completed. Attention to detail was commendable and their understanding of corporate M&A very impressive. I could not recommend them highly enough.
Victor Lewis, Former client
Having tried to sell my business previously – and failed – I was only too aware of the importance of pre-sale planning. This is a talented team offering a service that most people find out about, but too late.
Simon Hulme, Former Client
Bluebox are a quality outfit. Their access to International acquirers and relationships with the highest quality domestic investors was impressive. My shareholders and I received excellent service from start to finish and it was refreshing to be dealing with a senior team throughout the sale exercise.
Michael Clapper, Former Client
I cannot recommend the team at Bluebox highly enough. Their expert guidance throughout the entire sale exercise resulted in my shareholders securing an excellent deal with which the entire team was delighted.
Mark Rodol, Former Client
I’m really pleased with the service Bluebox provided. The team demonstrated excellent knowledge of the process to follow and led negotiations for the hospital in a way that allowed us to ensure we received appropriate value whilst focusing on reputational risk. Communication and service were of a very high standard.
Steven Davies, Former Client
With Bluebox’s expert advice we were able to find the right buyer that will benefit our business strategically. We’re delighted with the outcome and look forward to starting our new chapter
Clive Hillier, Former Client
The advice offered by the Bluebox team throughout the process was invaluable to the shareholders. We strongly believe that participating in Bluebox’s pre-sale planning programme was a significant driver behind the success of the deal. Their project management and negotiation skills throughout the sale process itself resulted in an exceptional deal being delivered to all parties involved.
Harpal Singh, Former Client