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Global HR Director

About the role

No Longer Accepting Applications

Whyte & Mackay’s roots are firmly planted in Scotland and more particularly in Glasgow, where the business is still headquartered.  The company traces its origins all the way back to 1844, to the banks of the River Clyde, and it was in 1882 that James Whyte and Charles Mackay came together to create their ‘Special’ blend of Whyte and Mackay Scotch whisky. This partnership laid the foundations for the company’s continued growth over the next century.

Today, Whyte & Mackay’s Scotch brands are spread across the various categories.  In blended Scotch we have Whyte and Mackay, John Barr and Claymore amongst a range of other brands.  In Single Malt whisky they have four brands – The Dalmore, Jura, Fettercairn and Tamnavulin – and, in addition, Shackleton Blended Malt.

In addition to the Glasgow Head Office they own 4 malts distilleries and a grain distillery in various parts of Scotland and operate a state of the art packaging plant at Grangemouth.

In 2014 Whyte and Mackay was acquired by Emperador Inc, a company listed in the Philippines, as its first acquisition outside their home borders.  This was the start of a new era for the business with an owner prepared to invest for the long term.  Despite being part of a larger organisation, they operate with a high level of local autonomy, including in the sphere of HR.

The business has a turnover in excess of £130m, with over 50% generated outside the UK, and they employ just over 500 people.  The majority of employees are UK based, with over 300 in manufacturing and supply chain operations.  In the UK they have a direct sales force whilst in the rest of the world sales are through distributor partners, supported by an internationally based commercial team of around 30.

In early 2015 they set a goal to double the business every 5 years – a goal we are on track to achieve, with growth being particularly strong in malt whiskies and in International markets.  Over the period since 2015 they have invested significantly in their production assets, behind their brands and in bringing in new talent in order to ensure they can deliver on their growth ambitions.

Principal purpose of the role:

  • To lead the development of the Company’s HR strategy and framework, and all aspects of the human factor of the business in support of its long term goals
  • To lead on capability development, organisational design, and end-to-end talent management
  • To play a key role, together with the rest of the Executive team, in the development of the culture of the business
  • To ensure good HR practices are implemented and HR policies and procedures are embedded


  • Lead the HR team to contribute to long-term goals through employer brand, organisation development, and people capability development, including succession planning, talent acquisition/development/retention, and performance management.
  • Contribute to the business strategy and planning process as a member of the Executive team
  • Develop a reward strategy to ensure competitive reward packages in the context of individual contribution and competitive benchmarks
  • Lead on employee engagement and relations, wellness and health and charitable giving
  • Responsible for the operational element of all HR processes within the lifecycle of an employee
  • Develop effective HR procedures and policies to reflect the business aims and implement appropriate HR good practice initiatives, including appropriate HR information systems
  • Monitor changes in employment legislation and provide advice in relation to the development of new policies and benefits, ensuring all policies are up to date, legally compliant and properly communicated
  • Lead on maintaining and developing Trade Union relationships including regular wage negotiations
  • Responsible for the management of the Company’s pensions schemes including relationships with advisers and trustees
  • Lead and develop the HR team and create and manage the HR department’s annual budget
  • Advise the CEO and senior management on all people related matters
  • Responsible for Head Office facilities

Key competencies

  • Commercially astute coupled with attention to the human element
  • Excellent organisational and leadership skills – personal efficiency and the ability to prioritise competing demands from across the business
  • Strong communication skills, good at managing diverse personalities and viewpoints
  • Good emotional intelligence with the ability to build relationships and collaborate with others
  • A strong working knowledge of employment law issues, best practice processes for disciplinary and grievance, redundancies and payroll
  • Thorough knowledge of talent management and development principles and best practice
  • Ability to move easily between shaping strategy and execution – “sleeves rolled up” approach
  • Diligent and firm with high ethical standards

Education and experience

  • Good standard of education up to Degree level
  • At least 7 years’ experience in HR with 3 to 5 years being in a senior HR post
  • Advantage: OD principles/global employment law knowledge/TU relationships

For an informal discussion please contact Alix Meekison on 0131 539 7087, or to apply please do so at