Movers and shakers: HR appointments – changes ahead at Google

Eileen Naughton
Eileen Naughton speaks at a London Technology Week event at The Shard in 2015.
Photo: Geoff Caddick/PA Archive/PA Images

Personnel Today’s update of comings and goings among senior human resources professionals includes Eileen Naughton’s decision to leave her current post at Google.

Google begins search for new head of HR

Google’s head of HR, Eileen Naughton, will step down from her role later this year. Google told Fortune that Naughton was leaving her post for family reasons, adding she would take another role within Google at some stage. Naughton said: “My husband and I have decided – after six years on the road, first in London and now San Francisco – to return home to New York to be closer to our family.” Sundar Pichai, who leads Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and chief financial officer Ruth Porat will search for Naughton’s replacement, with Naughton helping with the transition.

Naughton, who has been at the company for 14 years, four of which have been as vice president of people operations after replacing Laszlo Bock, has had to deal with employee criticism over the company’s alleged handling of sexual harassment claims. She also had to handle the firing of employees who organised protests against the company, and the replacement of weekly “all-hands meetings” at which employees can discuss any topics with executives, with monthly ones where the topics are vetted. Naughton has also reportedly had to handle worker complaints about the company’s work on secret projects such as a censored search engine for China and criticism over a lack of employee diversity.

See Movers & Shakers 24 January: Catherine Leaver to replace Ann Pickering as HR head at O2

In 2018, there was also a walkout for several hours by 20,000 Google employees over the search giant’s alleged mismanagement of sexual misconduct complaints. Subsequently, 48 people were dismissed including 13 senior managers, and Naughton took the lead in efforts to make it easier for workers to report misconduct. She also introduced a programme allowing victims to bring a friend with them to HR when filing a complaint as well as during the investigative process.

There has also been controversy over Google’s treatment of temporary workers and vendors in the US, many of whom do not enjoy the same generous benefits that employees are awarded. In response, Naughton implemented standards that included a $15 minimum wage, healthcare, and parental leave for non-employees who worked at the company.

Naughton’s first role at Google was as director North American sales, rising to become vice president global sales in 2012. Between May 2014 and September 2016 she was managing director and vice president UK-Ireland sales and operations.

Female first for Acas

Marina Glasgow has been announced as the first woman to take up the role of deputy chief conciliator at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), and has already taken up her new role. Mrs Glasgow has worked for Acas since 2001 and is a highly experienced mediator and conciliator, who worked most recently as director, east of England.

Acas chief executive Susan Clews said: “Marina is the first woman to take on this role and her wealth of experience in employment relations will be invaluable. She has worked on some very challenging and high-profile disputes during her years at Acas across sectors including transport, logistics and the public sector.”

Glasgow has Institute of Learning and Occupational Training and Btec facilitation qualifications. She said: “For over 40 years, Acas has been resolving numerous workplace disputes between groups of workers and their employer. We helped to settle four out of five of these disputes over the past year.”

During 2018/19 Acas was involved in more than 600 national and regional disputes and assisted employers and unions in a wide range of employment issue. Pay or pay-related matters was the top cause of disputes.

Big fish in a large pond


Kingfisher has appointed Kate Seljeflot as chief people officer. She joined the  international home improvement company from Costa Coffee, where she was chief people officer. Prior to that, from 2002 to 2016, she worked for Diageo, joining as a capability development manager and being promoted over 12 years to become HR director, Africa, Turkey, Russian and eastern Europe then global talent director. She has also worked at Shell where she joined the graduate training team after a completing a BA hons in French at the University of Manchester. Kingfisher also announced that Martin Lee and Adela Smeu are to become members of its group executive team.

See more Movers and Shakers, from 24 January 2020, 6 January 2020, 18 December 2019 and 10 December 2019

Changing role or know someone who has, in the HR arena? Let us know…

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