This week’s letters.
Earlier this month (Personnel Today, 7 May), we asked readers to give
their views on this year’s Top 40 Power Players league table. Here is a
selection of some of the responses we received.
If you are courting controversy then you have hit the nail on the head.
Doubtless all these fine individuals have made contributions in their own way
and some have been rewarded handsomely for it too.
I would, however, take issue over the view that they merit inclusion in such
a survey for efforts mostly restricted to their own organisations.
To be a true power player you need to be able to exert your influence beyond
the boundaries of just one organisation. I argue you should be listing people
whose power stretches beyond their immediate areas of work and instead touches
the lives of most people in the workplace.
Being the most senior HR employee in a high profile or blue-chip company is
surely not enough. Some might argue that because they are working so hard for
that organisation their influence is rather insular and therefore automatically
rules them out of being included in such a list.
I think a little more effort and thought would be appropriate to set down
some more wide-reaching criteria, and get away from the usual suspects.
HR is, and always should be, a little more creative in its thinking. So come
on, let’s be a little more daring and think outside of the box.
(Chris Mills wins a Harrods hamper for producing the most convincing
argument for how the Power Players List could be improved.)
Someone who was unfairly left out of the list is Hilary Campbell, HR
director at Vertex, the business process outsourcer.
Hilary joined Vertex’s parent company, United Utilities, in 1993 and three
years later she was part of the team that helped to set up Vertex.
She now has overall responsibility for more than 8,500 employees across some
26 UK sites.
She has extensive experience in employee transition programmes and change
management techniques. She has overseen some 15 transition programmes and the
successful transfer into Vertex of hundreds of employees from a number of major
blue-chip and public-sector organisations.
Working in an industry where people are the singularly most important asset,
Hilary Campbell is worthy of inclusion in any list of the HR profession’s most
I have no disagreement with your top four choices, but am dismayed that more
than half of your choices represent ‘guru’s and politicians’. It is a sad
indictment of our profession that so much power lies outside the professionals
in the field.
For Patricia Hewitt (5th) and Bob Crow (28th) to wield such power with
little if any ‘real’ experience of HR does not bode well.
Can we have a Top 40 for HR’s unsung heroes who enthuse the rest of us
day-in day-out into dealing with our ever-changing and increasing workload?
HR Director, Coors Brewers
I am not usually into personal promotion which may be why I did not appear
in your list. I have been chair of the executive board of the CIPD from
inception to achievement of Royal Charter – that is, Geoff Armstong’s boss;
global HRD director of an organisation working in 70 countries with £100m
turnover; professor of HRD at London’s largest Business School; author of 11
books and president of IFTDO.
But my main concern is that nowhere is the ‘not for profit’ sector even
mentioned among the 40. The sector blindness is significant and, having worked
in all UK sectors, is where some of the most imaginative and strategic work is
It is a £1bn sector with 185,000 organisations within it in the UK. I know
your list isn’t meant to be representative, but quality is not only to be found
in the usual private-sector high street names.
Training/development director, Save the Children