Mary Robertson

Director of Reward, Benefits and Pensions, O2 Ltd


After studying for a Business Studies degree I joined Marks and Spencer on their graduate training programme. This marked the start of a 25 year career in human resources. Since then I have worked on both an employed and consultancy basis with a range of organisations including Nationwide Building Society, Prudential Insurance, the BBC and EasyJet. Today I am Director of Reward at O2, where I am responsible for managing the pay, benefits and pensions for our 6,500 employees.

I went to a comprehensive school in Surrey. At times I found it challenging, and unfortunately despite working hard I didn’t get the grades required to go to my chosen University and study law. It was with hindsight the best thing that could have happened! I took a year off, learnt how to answer an exam question, did a secretarial course and re-took one of my A-levels increasing the mark by 2 grades. At the end of the year I had lots more confidence and a much better idea about what I wanted to do for the next few years. I re-applied for a degree place at a Polytechnic and haven’t looked back. This experience, and a genuine interest in helping young people starting out, has resulted in me being involved in coaching and mentoring apprentices and graduates since I have started work.

I live in Reading with my Scottish husband, two teenage sons and two cats.