Respected HR leaders Anika Grant, Jean-Michel Wu, Lani Montoya, Thaddeus Jones and Deborah Yates have taken on new roles.

Here are the major promotions and job moves in the world of HR.

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Anika Grant named Chief People Officer of Ubisoft

French video game company Ubisoft, with franchises like Tom Clancy's series and Assassin's Creed to its credit, has appointed Anika Grant as the new Chief People Officer.

Grant served most recently as the Global HR Director at Dyson, and previously as a Senior Director of HR at Uber. She brings 19 years of experience to the position where she will oversee global recruiting, talent management, and leadership development, as well as Ubisoft’s C&B approach.

Grant will report directly to Ubisoft Co-Founder and CEO Yves Guillemot. She is based in Singapore but will be moving to Paris to join Ubisoft.

Guillemot commented: "I am very happy to welcome Anika Grant as our new Chief People Officer. Her energy, optimism and breadth of experience will be great assets to keep evolving our approach to HR and talent management. Working alongside me, Anika’s mission will consist of aligning all our HR teams with a strong, shared vision, building a robust talent pipeline, and implementing innovative and new ways of working."

Grant will also work toward improving Ubisoft’s organisational performance, innovating on strategies to develop talent, and ensuring that Ubisoft’s workplace culture is anchored in safety, respect, and wellbeing.

On her appointment, Grant shared: "I’m excited to be part of Ubisoft, whose mission is to provide opportunities for enrichment and self-discovery through innovative and original gaming experiences.

"I am also incredibly proud to partner with the talented, passionate people at Ubisoft to deliver on this mission, and confident that together, we will continue making Ubisoft an employer of choice, one that offers its team members exciting challenges, a welcoming and open environment, and the freedom to express their creativity every day."


Pernod Ricard North America brings Lani Montoya on board as CHRO

The world's No. 2 producer of wines and spirits, with brands like Absolut Vodka, Ballantine’s, and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies to its name, Pernod Ricard has appointed Lani Montoya as the Chief Human Resources Officer on its executive team.

Montoya is a company veteran who has held leadership roles in both the US and Paris. She will succeed Paul Holub, who is retiring from his role as Senior Vice President, HR and Corporate Services after a 25-year career with Pernod Ricard North America, Corby Spirit and Wine and Hiram Walker & Sons.

Montoya has been with the company for 15 years, and most recently led Global Talent Management and D&I, based in Paris. In that role, she made significant strides towards achieving Pernod Ricard’s goal of 'Better Balance', by becoming the industry’s most inclusive, diverse and sustainable company. Previously, she served as HR Director for the Pernod Ricard Americas Travel Retail division, and as an HR Manager for Malibu-Kahlua International.

Reporting to Pernod Ricard North America Chairman and CEO Ann Mukherjee, Montoya’s responsibilities will include talent acquisition, enhancing employee capabilities and retention, expanding D&I programming, and driving ongoing change related to the company’s 'Transform and Accelerate strategy'. She will also be responsible for furthering the company’s 'Better Balance' cornerstone, ensuring that diversity, flexibility and wellness are prioritised.

"At Pernod Ricard, we are creators of conviviality. That means creating an inclusive environment with employees from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about our brands, our industry and our purpose," said Montoya. "As a Latin-American woman, I am proud of the diverse and gender balance at Pernod Ricard North America and I am committed to ensuring our company mirrors the diversity of our society."

Mukherjee shared: "It is my honour to welcome Lani as the newest member of our executive team.

"Lani is the right leader to meet the moment. She shaped the Diversity & Inclusion strategy for our global company, and now she is poised to deliver on the commitment to Better Balance in the North American market. I’d also like to congratulate Paul on his many contributions to our company, and for championing the role that HR can and must play as a strategic partner with other areas of the business."


TotallyAwesome calls on APAC HR expert, Jean-Michel Wu to lead talent

One of APAC's most experienced HR leaders, Jean-Michel Wu, has been appointed Head of Talent at family-focused digital ecosystem, TotallyAwesome. This will see him work with TotallyAwesome CEO, Will Anstee, and a growing regional management team.

Jean-Michel Wu has 25 years of experience working across executive recruitment and HR. He is the former APAC CEO of executive search firm Grace Blue Partnership, prior to which, he was Chief Talent Officer of McCann Worldgroup APAC where he built a regional HR team and introduced a suite of talent-related platforms. He is also formerly Chief Talent Officer of WPP APAC and Regional Talent Director for Ogilvy in Asia.

TotallyAwesome provides a forum for kids, teens and families to safely interact with brands across apps, games and websites, with more than 300mn monthly active users across APAC currently.

On the appointment, Anstee said: "We have ambitious plans for expansion in APAC and hiring the right regional and national leadership is a critical aspect of our progress. Jean-Michel brings very rare experience, knowledge and connections across the region and I am very pleased he is available to help us."

Wu added: "As a father of young children, I am naturally concerned about the nature of engagement our kids will have on the internet. TotallyAwesome is dedicated to responsible and appropriate interaction between kids, their families and brands, so I am excited to be helping Will and the whole team with building a high-performance culture centred around a real purpose."

He is the third senior management executive joining TotallyAwesome recently. In late March, James Sawyer was announced as MD of Australia/New Zealand, post which Mikio Kudo joined as Country Manager of Japan. 


Red Ventures hires Amazon veteran Thaddeus Jones as Chief Talent Officer

South Carolina-based portfolio of brands, digital platforms, and strategic partnerships, Red Ventures (RV), has announced the appointment of Thaddeus Jones as Chief Talent Officer. In his role, Jones will lead talent acquisition and development and will report directly into Ric Elias, company co-founder and CEO.

Jones brings over 15 years of HR leadership to RV, and most recently served as Global Head of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Prior to Amazon, he served as Lowe’s Director Talent Acquisition, Inclusion and Diversity, and at Target in executive recruiting and talent acquisition.

Red Ventures currently employs more than 3,500 teammates spanning five continents, and owns and operates several large digital brands such as CNET, Healthline Media, and Lonely Planet.

CEO Elias said: "The most important strategic advantage we have is our ability to invest in our people. Thadd brings a wealth of experience in building and driving global, data-driven talent acquisition strategies and I’m excited to see him help us learn and grow."


Lendlease appoints Deborah Yates as Group Chief People Officer

Sydney-headquartered real estate and investment group, Lendlease has appointed Deborah (Deb) Yates as its Chief People Officer. This follows the resignation of Group Head of People & Culture, Alex Christie.

Deb joins Lendlease following a 25-year career working across all areas of HR. In her current role as KPMG’s National Managing Partner for People and Corporate Affairs, Deb has led its people strategy with a particular focus on creating a mentally-healthy culture that empowers people. Prior to joining KPMG, Deb was CHRO at Reckitt Benckiser, her tenure began in Australia and took her to the Netherlands, the US and the UK.

Deb commences her new role on 1 July 2021.

On the appointment, Group CEO Designate, Tony Lombardo said: "Deb’s strong track record in working alongside people to develop their skills and capabilities, as well as driving inclusion and diversity, makes her well placed to make a significant contribution to our 9,500-strong global workforce."

This announcement was made along another significant development - the appointment of Justin Gabbani as the Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Asia based in Singapore. This follows current Asia CEO, Tony Lombardo, being appointed to the role of Group Chief Executive Officer Designate in February 2021.  

Justin joined Lendlease in 2003 and most recently held the role of CFO, Asia. Prior to this role, he held the role of Head of Investment & Capital Markets (Asia and Europe), and in fact, during his time with Lendlease, Justin has held various roles in the investment management and development businesses. Justin commences his new role on 1 June 2021. A selection process is underway for his successor.

Group CEO Steve McCann commented: "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Justin and Deb on their respective appointments. Their demonstrated skills and expertise will bring valuable new perspectives to Lendlease’s global leadership team as the Group continues to execute against its record $110 billion global development pipeline.

"I’d also like to thank Alex Christie for his outstanding contribution to Lendlease during the past eleven years and wish him the very best in the next stage of his career."


Lead photo / All images provided [Pictured from L-R top row: Anika Grant, Lani Montoya, Jean Michel-Wu; L-R bottom row: Thaddeus Jones, Deborah Yates]

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