Adidas Group HR Director: ‘Put yourself in the other guy’s shoes when making decisions’

Tony Cooke humbly leads Adidas’s HR division with a down-to-earth but visionary approach that helps attract some of the best talent to the business. Tony was appointed to his “dream job” in 2001 as HR Director, Adidas UK. The pace of change in the organisation has been markedly rapid. Since starting his new job, he has played a key part in an integration with Holland and Belgium, the acquisition of the Reebok business and more latterly the integration of the Nordics to create Adidas North Europe.

Tony will be speaking at the upcoming HR Summit and Expo, 14-16 November 2016, at the Dubai World Trade Centre – where he plans to demonstrate how a small company in Dubai of 50 people can replicate what a 50,000 employee company does. Here are some insights he shared with us recently.


On HR Trends…

HRSE: In your opinion, what one key trend is transforming the current HR landscape and how?

TONY: Inclusion and Diversity. Businesses are starting to realize the great value of having a fully inclusive and diverse workforce and the benefits it brings to the business commercially and the employees from an engagement.

HRSE: How is the future of HR going to be different from what it is today?

TONY: Less Generalist, more Specialist. More outsourcing. More commercial in its outlook.

Less Policeman, more partner.


Insights on HR Leadership…

HRSE: Give us one example of how Adidas ensures positioning itself as an HR leader.

TONY: Constant engagement, consultation, taking risks and being approachable.

HRSE: Give us your best one-sentence advice for aspiring HR leaders.

TONY: Put yourself in the other guy’s shoes when you are making decisions or policies. It shows you are consultative and honest – two massive traits!


On the HR Summit & Expo in Dubai…

HRSE: How do you benefit from being a part of HR Summit & Expo?

TONY: Networking, hearing about new approaches, meeting inspiring leaders. I look forward to hearing great stories about Inclusion & Diversity!


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