Lucy Adams

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Former HR Director, BBC

To book Lucy Adams please contact your JLA Agent.


Lucy led BBC HR during a turbulent period. She was responsible for employee relations, reward, training, development and redundancies. During her time the corporation adjusted to four new Directors General, the move to Salford, 30% reduction in management and the Savile scandal. Lucy’s decisions were exposed to frequent media and political scrutiny. In speeches she considers how to instil resilient leadership, break down silos and manage resistance to change.


Lucy Adams was the BBC’s HR Director during one of its most turbulent periods. Responsible for all aspects of employee relations, reward, training and development, she reduced the BBC management by over 30%, saving the organisation £25m a year. She also faced a torrent of personal and professional criticism as the broadcaster dealt with a series of crises.

In her five year tenure Lucy saw four DGs come and go, oversaw the move to the Salford site and coped with numerous, very public crises including executive pay-offs and the Savile scandal. This alongside the everyday work of talent retention, development and remuneration, HR policy, and the challenges of a publicly-funded organisation working in a highly commercial, fast-moving sector with over 20,000 employees.

In speeches, Lucy discusses how to deliver real change within a large, complex organisation, and why it isn’t always popular; balancing the need for quick decisions with possible moral backlash about severance, and issues relating to employee engagement. She states that in an uncertain world, many accepted ideas of leadership aren’t up to the job and by looking at everything from management theory to neuroscience she considers fresh perspectives on leadership, employee engagement and management organisation. Lucy also addresses how businesses can deal with public scrutiny and adverse publicity, and the nature of leadership and change in organisations.

Prior to working at the BBC, Lucy was Group HR Director at Serco, the government services business, covering everything from transport to nuclear facilities. She was in position during a period of extensive expansion and acquisition for the business, incorporating new employees and cultures. Prior to Serco Lucy worked for the law firm Eversheds.

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Agent Recommendation

Thanks to her experience in turbulent times at the BBC, Lucy's speech is incredibly insightful – but she also has a natural ability to engage the room. The self-confessed "recovering HR director" even manages to inject a sense of fun. Whether she's asked to talk about the scourge of annual appraisals or the challenges of virtual teams, you will come away with a fresh perspective. JLA Agent Adam Harkness

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