Darren Bartlett

Senior Consultant

Darren Bartlett, Senior Consultant


Darren is a seasoned professional with almost 30 years’ experience of managing large teams across global organisations in Retail, Banking, Insurance and FMCG sectors.  He is a proven specialist in Employee and Organisational Development, Talent & Executive Development, and driving Behavioural and Cultural Change. His extensive experience in identifying, designing, delivering, facilitating, and commercially evaluating learning solutions allows for a deeply expanded consumer impact.  Darren thrives in challenging and constantly evolving environments, personally facilitating change management across all levels of the organisation.  

Background & Industry Experience

Darren draws on almost 30 years of experience in Human Resources across multiple firms and sectors to help organisations, teams, and individuals focus in on true opportunities and challenges and works with them to help design solutions that will have a lasting commercial impact.

Darren started his professional career in Retail with Marks & Spencer in the UK.  Darren held a number of roles encompassing both Business Partnering roles as well as specialist roles in Recruitment, Learning, Leadership Development and Talent.  Darren credits these early roles for his continued focus on designing commercially viable solutions with a clear customer impact, and the experiences remain a critical driver in his thought process.

After leaving Retail, Darren held a number of senior roles across various Finance Sector organisations at Barclays Bank, Liverpool Victoria, and Royal Sun Alliance. He led numerous Learning & Development, Talent, and Attraction teams with great success whilst building lasting relationships with global partners to deliver successful programs across multiple business units. Leading transformation and cultural change activities both within HR and across broader commercial teams resulted in Darren’s external recognition with multiple award-winning initiatives.  Whilst leading large teams, Darren has never shied away from staying close to his customers and regularly coached and facilitated events for senior business leaders to ensure he maintained a strong connection to the front line. This mindset and prioritization strengthened his understanding of what was important to the external customer and how he and his teams could best support that.

Most recently, Darren led the global transformation of the Capability function at Imperial Brands, responsible for all activities from “attraction to alumni” for both the traditional combustibles business and the growing NGP (Next Generation Product), a key initiative requiring new approaches and practices as the tobacco sector continues to pivot towards new technologies to create less harmful products for the global consumer.  Darren’s success at Imperial was built on a deep understanding of the global business strategy and direction but also crucially making the time and effort to understand the local needs of the 100+ territories he and his team supported globally and ensuring that solutions were globally consistent and locally relevant.

Facilitation & Teambuilding Approach

Darren is a passionate believer of the critical role leaders play in making cultural change stick, resulting in business success, therefore their engagement and direct involvement plays a critical part in Darren’s overall facilitation style. 

Darren is renowned for his collaborative facilitation style, establishing personal connections with all delegates from front-line colleagues to C-suite leaders; whilst content and depth of challenge may differ based on the audience, he is passionate that every delegate feels part of the session, and all have an equal voice.  Therefore, he works to build structures that create immersive, deeply personal experiences where the facilitator always makes the participant feel like they are centre-stage. Darren is driven by curiosity, and rather than taking the initial brief at “fact value”, he draws energy from asking questions to deepen his understanding of the true opportunities and challenges that the organization/team/individuals face.  This focus on truly understanding where he needs to take a group allows him to recognise and call out strengths whilst confidently highlighting critical areas of development that will make the biggest impact and shift in performance.  

Given Darren’s belief in the role that leaders play in driving lasting change, he cares deeply about what happens beyond the classroom, ensuring participants walk away with clear actions and next steps and understanding that class-room learning is just one part of the overall approach for development. 

Darren’s focus is on creating the best conditions for learning both pre and post the actual intervention itself and would advocate that without this additional focus the value of the learning investment will be diminished.

Relevant Assignments

  • Led project for major Global Bank to understand attitudes and engagement towards Learning & Development for Global leadership community at C-Suite -2 (c2000 leaders). In-depth research to inform recommended approach and designed pathway to increase the focus from this critical global community of leaders
  • Led the global transformation of a Global FMCG L&D function as part of organisation wide Operating Model review. Core purpose to drive standardization of approach, reduce cost and drive learning engagement and take up to support a “learning culture” rather than focusing on fixed classroom mind-set towards “training”.  Success demonstrated through driving cost of learning from £96 per hour to £7 whilst driving take up of content from c10k learning hours per annum to over 90k hours p.a.
  • Led the global design and end-end operating model for Learning & Leadership Development department for a major European Financial Services organisation. Worked in partnership with in-house HR teams and newly identified global out-source partner to transition all activity and ensure SLAs in place to provide ongoing metrics for demonstrating success.  
  • Defined and agreed Global Capability Strategy to meet the Organisational capability needs with appropriate solutions, delivered via Buy, Build and Borrow approaches :- e.g. through leveraging global Resourcing Provider and operations through to developing eco-system of trusted external partners to provide support as required.  Success demonstrated through reduction of in-market spend globally by £3.8m due to more collaborative approach in ways of working with CoE and local HR; supported by introduction of Global Preferred Supply Base
  • Led project to design a new Global Employee Brand in conjunction with global HR and Marketing teams for a FMCG organization as well as exploiting new social media channels to raise engagement and successfully increase Glassdoor ratings
  • For a global FMCG organisation designed their first “Global Leadership Development Framework” to provide core content from first line leader to C-Suite -1 through blend of in-house designed solutions, to curation of global content and be-spoke design of global workshops realising c£3m annualised savings. In parallel created and launched a global behaviours framework replacing previous cumbersome model; assisting with colleague engagement and increase in satisfaction with career development feedback across all levels of the organization.
  • Designed and co-facilitated Senior Talent programme to support C-Suite succession with 30% of leaders securing new role within 12 months.
  • Led the establishment of 4 Global Employee Resource Groups and Global Inclusion & Diversity Board to ensure colleagues in minority groups had the same opportunities and feel able to be their best true selves.

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • BSc Hons, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
  • CIPD member for over 25 years
  • Certified user of Hogan Assessment Suite
  • Certified user of CCLs Benchmarks by Design 360 tool
  • Certified user of Workplace Big 5
  • Oxford Management Group certified Project Management facilitator