Ann Pickering steps down as Chief HR Officer after 16 years in the business

Catherine Leaver appointed HR Director from April 2020

O2 has today announced the departure of Ann Pickering, stepping down from her roles as Chief HR Officer and Chief of Staff after sixteen years in the business. O2’s Catherine Leaver is appointed to the executive team as HR Director commencing April 2020.

During her tenure, Ann Pickering led on many of the brand’s important milestones, including gender parity on the company’s UK Board and an industry-leading increase to paid paternity leave, taking the company policy to 14 weeks paid for all permanent employees to ensure partners have the support and flexibility to spend valuable time with their new family. The extended paternity policy covers heterosexual and same-sex couples, as well as adoptive and surrogate partners.

Ann also oversaw important developments in the company’s work on inclusion, including the launch of the company’s Career Returners programme aimed at people wanting to return to the workplace after a career break, and toolkits to support transitioning colleagues giving advice to them and their managers and teammates.

Appointed to the role is O2’s Catherine Leaver, who joined the Telefonica business in the UK in 2005. Catherine was HR Business Partner for Sales and Marketing before heading up Talent and Resourcing for Telefonica in Europe.

Catherine led the people workstream during the acquisition of EPlus by Telefonica in Germany, leading the operating model and executive appointments in advance of the merger of the two entities. She then transferred to the Global team where she held the role of Global HR Transformation Director, before her promotion to Director of HR in the UK business.

Ann will step down from the O2 Executive Team in April to focus on non-executive projects outside of O2.

CEO of O2 Mark Evans said:

“I’d like to thank Ann for her tireless dedication to our people over the past sixteen years, and creating O2 as a Great Place to Work. I also want to welcome Catherine to her new position, and to the executive committee of O2.

“Catherine has a great track record and an impressive knowledge of our business, and I look forward to seeing her build on the important work Ann has forged on diversity, inclusion and support of our people at a crucial time for our business.”

Ann Pickering said:

“This was a tremendously difficult decision, but it’s the right time for the business, the right time for me and importantly the right time for Catherine. I’m so pleased to see her moving up into this role and I’m sure she will bring the energy and dedication our people truly deserve.”

Catherine Leaver said:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to join the executive team at O2. I have spent the last two years working closely with Ann and I’m looking forward to building on the fantastic work she has started.”

ENDS