The past 12 months have seen dramatic changes in the profession and the next 12 are likely to be just as eventful.
This year's profiles of HR's most powerful players reflects these changes, with the pioneers of outsourcing and its potential impact on the profession influencing the line-up chosen by the Personnel Today team.
Once again we do not expect you to agree with all our choices but let us know what you think.
Who would be in your top ten? Fax 020-8652 8805 or e-mail: [email protected]
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Stephen Byers is without doubt one of Labour's high-fliers and among its most business-friendly modernisers, but his poor performance in the past 12 months means that we only begrugdingly keep him in the top slot. His inconsistent approach, coupled with reverses in policy, has made the lives of many HR professionals hell. The confusion over the position on Working Time with amendments and guidance apparently pulling in different directions is an obvious example.
There has also been disquiet over the lack of time given to consultation over workplace legislation, and the scope of the consultation carried out. Controversial parts of the union recognition proposals were given less than six weeks of consultation.
Byers' position is further weakened by the recent Rover debacle and the enormity of his brief without a strong enough deputy. But as a Labour high-flier he could soon be moved on to keep his reputation intact.
Chairman, CEO and president of Exult
Madden shoots straight in at two as a true pioneering spirit, having transformed the market for human resources outsourced services in the past year. Having seen the potential for technologically-based HR services long before most in the industry, Madden secured a five-year contract to operate the bulk of personnel services for the oil giant BP Amoco.
His audacious ambition of supplying all the Fortune 500 companies secured him the backing from General Atlantic Partners, the world's largest venture capital firm for the IT sector. His philosophy is based on long-term partnership, and he argues that outsourcing can add value and not simply be a cost-cutting exercise.
Agree or disagree, outsourcing is the biggest issue currently sweeping through the profession.