Career profile: Stevan Rolls, UK head of HR, Deloitte

Written by
Sarah Clark

27 Nov 2015

27 Nov 2015 • by Sarah Clark

Basic details

Name: Stevan Rolls

Job: Partner, UK Head of HR

Current employer: Deloitte

CV in brief:

  • 2002-2006: Head of recruitment, EY
  • 1997: Head of recruitment, Arthur Andersen
  • 1994: Head of occupational psychology and OD, Ford Europe
  • 1991: Occupational psychologist, ASE

A day in the life

Tell us about your job and organisation

Deloitte is a big professional services partnership.

Who do you report into? 

Managing partner for internal client services.

Tell us about your team

They are fantastic, hard-working, creative and resilient.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Navigating a path through the complexity and ambiguity.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Early start, not too late a finish, the occasional opportunity to get down the gym or out for a cycle.

Why did you choose your current organisation to work for?

I knew quite a few people there and thought it would be a different challenge.

Perks and downsides of your role?

Perks – pretty much complete autonomy to set my own agenda and play to my strengths.

Downsides – it can be tough to fit everything in.

What skills are essential for the role you’re in?

Problem solving, strategic thinking, pragmatism, ability to build strong relationships.

Career path

How did you get to where you are now?

Equal parts of luck and hard work.

What were your best subjects in school? What and where did you study?

Physics and English. Behavioural science at the polytechnic of Wales then MSc and PhD in applied Psychology at Cranfield.

What was your first job? How did you get it and why did you choose to work there?

Apprentice electric fitter at the Midlands Electricity Board. I just applied and passed the tests. I wanted to get a job to keep funding my (then) passion for Motocross.

Have you followed the career path you set out to?

Absolutely yes. I changed direction at 19 and mapped out a path to becoming a consultant psychologist. I didn’t really plan to be a head of HR but I’m not splitting hairs.

What challenges have you faced along the way? How did you overcome them? 

As an electrical fitter I wasn’t in any way qualified to become a psychologist. So I studied at night school, got some “A” levels and applied to college. People always said that it wasn’t really possible, so that gave me all the motivation I needed.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to land a job?

Nothing really. I always just get my head down and make loads of applications.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

Getting my PhD and being nominated for HRD of the year.

Do you have any career regrets? 

Absolutely not. The failures along the way have been as valuable as the successes.

What advice would you offer to others who are looking to get to where you are now?

Don’t be afraid to try something different, what looks like a backward step or an unusual move can lead to unexpected opportunities.

What advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?

The same advice as I give my 22 year old daughter, anything is possible.


  • Coffee or tea? Neither
  • Jam or marmalade? Marmalade
  • The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Led Zep
  • Mac or PC? Surface Pro
  • The Guardian or The Times? The Times
  • BBC or ITV? BBC
  • M&S or Waitrose? Waitrose
  • Morning or night? Morning
  • Rain on snow? Snow
  • Sweet or savoury? Savoury


  • App: British Airways – it makes it so easy at the airport
  • TV show: Top Gear – who doesn’t?
  • Band: Artic Monkeys – I discovered them late – the lyrics are brilliant!
  • Song: Kashmir (Led Zeppelin) – its probably on the best album of all time
  • Book: Dune – best science fiction ever written
  • Sports team: Sky Pro Cycling – I wish I could cycle that fast
  • Thing to do on a Friday night: Crash with a bottle of wine – I just need to sleep by then
  • Place to eat: 11 Madison Park, NY – just the most amazing food and cool atmosphere
  • Holiday spot: Cyprus – its hot and I have many friend there
  • Piece of advice you’ve been given: Don’t have a curry the night before a long flight – it just makes sense!