Clare Chapman has pulled out of her keynote address at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) annual conference in Harrogate.
Chapman, workforce director-general for the NHS, has cited “personal reasons” for the decision to pull out at the last minute.
It is understood that Chapman’s husband died recently.
She was expected to deliver a speech on World Class HR tomorrow (Thursday) with Neil Roden, group director, human resources at Royal Bank of Scotland.
Her place will be taken by David Fairhurst, vice president, chief people officer, at McDonalds.
News of her absence will come as a blow to the CIPD as Chapman was expected to be a draw for delegates at the conference. Her public speaking appearances since starting her new role in January have been few and far between.
Meanwhile, CIPD research released at the conference has revealed more than half of organisations have restructured their HR function in the last year.
The most common reason for this is to enable the HR function to become ‘more strategic’.
The report is based on a survey of nearly 800 senior HR professionals. The majority of respondents said that the most common difficulties encountered in restructuring the HR function were in defining roles (42%), having insufficient resources (40%), dealing with skills gaps (38%) and having ineffective technology (35%).