CIPD dismisses claims that HR professionals are boardroom pariahs

Companies put too much emphasis on financial knowledge when recruiting chief executives, the CIPD has insisted.

A study by recruitment consultancy Robert Half of the current crop of FTSE 100 chief executives found that CEOs of more than 40% had taken some sort of finance-based career path to the top.

Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half, told Personnel Today that finance professionals had a head start over HR directors because they presented numerical information to shareholders.

Sheridan said: “A finance professional, and in particular the finance director, is likely to have a more in-depth experience as to how the financials affect the company’s whole operation.”

But Angela Baron, CIPD adviser,  said businesses needed chief executives with a range of skills, capable of displaying leadership qualities.

“Businesses are managed by a board with a set of skills, from people to marketing to finance,” she said.

“It’s true that many chief executives come from finance, but companies have put too much emphasis on financial knowledge. If the chief executive doesn’t have a financial background they can easily hire finance professionals.”

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