Moving on up

is proving itself a launching pad for industry high-fliers. In part two of our
three-part series on CEOs and boardroom HR, we conclude our profiles of the top
20 senior executives with a background in global HR. Next week, we look at why
CEOs need a so-called ‘hard’ background

Chief Executive, Todd energy

to the top

managing director of New Zealand’s largest domestic energy company, Richard
Tweedie, former HR director of Todd Motors, is one of the most influential
business figures in the twin-island state.

began as a management trainee in the tobacco industry, followed by a spell in
market research at the global consumer goods company Unilever in the 1970s.
During this period, while completing a Bachelor of Law degree, he became
interested in industrial relations and gained a job with the New Zealand
Employers Federation as an industrial advocate. This was during a period of
strong unions, and Tweedie was directly involved representing industrial
groups, mainly in the car industry, in negotiations.

joined Todd Motors, the Mitsubishi franchise assembler in New Zealand, as
industrial relations manager in 1976 at the age of 30.

moved the company away from the confrontational approach and was quickly
promoted to lead the total HR function. In 1981, his employer sent him to
Harvard Business School on a three-month programme and a year later he moved
into a planning and legal management role in Todd’s oil and gas business,
becoming general manager by 1987, CEO in 1990 and managing director in 1995.

the HR background helps

HR experience has significantly shaped my role, especially the experience at
the coalface of industrial negotiations. My negotiating skills were developed
during that time and the tricks of the game – many learned from union
negotiators – are with me today."

for those starting out

you want a line management position, then you need to manage your career to
that end by identifying the time and opportunity to make your move. It has its
personal risks, but if all goes well it can be very rewarding."

CEO, State Insurance Company, New Zealand

to the top

David Smith has humble beginnings. He joined a small suburban branch of the
Bank of New South Wales as an office assistant upon leaving school at the age
of 18. The bank, however, saw potential in him and placed him on a fast-track
programme despite his lack of a degree, and he subsequently completed an MBA.

spent 20 years with the Westpac banking group, of which the Bank of New South
Wales is a part, and was mostly in personnel roles. These included four years
in New Zealand, where he ran the human resources development department of the
Westpac Banking Corporation, before returning to Australia, ending as general
manager of retail banking in Queensland.

then moved to NRMA in 1999 as human resources general manager, before being
appointed chief executive of the State Insurance Company.

the HR background helps

can bring the people issues to the top table. What we are going to see in
companies is that if you have a very motivated staff, then that can lead to
better customer satisfaction and retention and profitability. We have been
doing vision and values, but if that does not mean anything to the people then
it is useless, or even counter-productive."

for those starting out

to talk the language of business – that is where you start getting credibility.
The best thing I did was the MBA, and what that gave me was confidence."

Chief executive, mkworldwide

to the top

all the dramatic collapses of the dotcoms, Maurice Duffy is a rarity – a new
economy entrepreneur who makes money. He is also a former HR director.

reorganised the HR department at the European division of global telecoms
company Nortel Networks to operate as a headhunting and resourcing agency, handled
at arm’s length. The logical development was to spin off the firm, which he
did, promptly severing links with Nortel and operating as an independent
company. Its core competence is recruitment, but it now acts as a consultancy
on business and technology, and as a conference organiser as well as a search
and selection agency.

80 employees and offices in London, Newcastle, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan,
Madrid and Munich, mkworldwide has grown rapidly since starting as mksearch
with eight people in February 2000.

as European HR director of Nortel Networks, headed the 1999 Recruitment Team of
the Year in the inaugural Personnel Today awards.

qualified as an accountant in 1977, but went straight into HR, taking
traditional personnel roles in industrial groups in Ireland and the UK, with
spells in project management and general management, before joining Nortel in

the HR background helps

are now the key to competitive advantage, he argues. "In the 1980s, it was
capital; in the 1990s, people viewed technology as the key; from 2000 forward,
it is about people."

for those starting out

speaking and passionate, Duffy says the only way for HR managers to reach
senior executive positions is to quit being "social workers" and
become business managers. "Know your business," he says. "Don’t
just read the brochure; know your customers and know what is happening. That is
how you gain respect, rather than wading through the latest HR book on how to manage

Group managing director of operations, BAe

to the top

Morgan runs businesses responsible for £1.3bn turnover, employing 13,000
people, covering shipbuilding and aerospace manufacture. His four-year tenure
as HR director at the same company immediately preceded this post.

between different disciplines is something that has characterised his career,
and something he regards as essential for any personnel manager who aspires to
the highest office.

began his career in the car industry, in a variety of managerial posts, culminating
in the position of managing director at Land Rover Vehicles in the UK between
1991 and 1995. He then moved to an equivalent post at Royal Ordnance.

organisations become much flatter, the learning experience from moving across
into different roles in order to widen experience is valuable," he says.
"I have learned a lot from that."

even without spending time in the line, personnel managers must learn the
business objectives and priorities.

Morgan’s case, as HR director, he could never be accused of not knowing the
task, or its difficulty, because he had worked as operational manager in the
same company. This gave him great authority when encouraging junior line
managers to take their people management responsibilities seriously.

the HR background helps

has a high regard for the importance of HR. For example he refuses to regard
his move early in 2001 from HR director to group managing director of
operations as a promotion, rather as a sideways move.

for those starting out

would encourage a manager of any discipline to spend some time in a different
department, and says that many need to sharpen up their people management
skills. "Management is the art of persuasion, rather than instruction,
which is what many general managers do."

Senior vice-president Royal Phillips Electronics and CEO, Philips
Domestic Appliances ad Personal Care

to the top

Veenhof, who began his career in HR, is a beneficiary of Philips’ policy of job
rotation which began in the 1970s. Potential senior managers were given a taste
of different functions, in a manner that has become more established since.

studied business administration at Nijenrode University, and obtained an
economics degree at Groningen University, before joining the human resources
department at the electronics giant’s offices in Hilversum, the Netherlands, in
1971. He spent three-and-a-half years there, followed by similar stints in
corporate finance and sales.

became project leader for LCD products in 1986, and for high-definition
television in 1989. In January 1992, he was appointed managing director of the
consumer electronics division. He took up his current responsibilities in
January 1996.

the HR background helps

regards the skills he learned in interviewing and in managing mergers as key
abilities for senior management. He picked these up in his years in HR where,
despite holding a junior role, he had access to senior managers of the
department. He estimates that as much as one-quarter of his time as CEO
involves handling organisational development and HR, particularly the
recruitment and development of top managers.

lot of my time is spent getting people in the right positions," he says.
"You are thinking continually about the development of the

for those starting out

not stay too long in a certain field," says Veenhof. "And you should
discuss that very early in your career." Rotation around the disciplines
is close to being essential background for a chief executive and, he notes,
"Young people are asking for this."

Corporate auditor, Hitachi

to the top

Muneoka was promoted to the board of the Japanese electronics giant Hitachi as
senior vice-president in 1997, having served three years as a general manager
in the employee relations department.

February of this year he was elected corporate auditor.

many Japanese executives, Muneoka has spent his entire career at one company. A
psychology graduate from the University of Tokyo, he joined in 1964, working in
various posts while rising through the hierarchy, becoming department manager
of the administration department in 1985.

had some experience in personnel in his junior roles, and returned to the
discipline in 1994 as general manager in the corporate employee relations
department, becoming board level director for corporate personnel and training
in 1997.

Transaction director, Nomura international; non-executive director, the
Post Office

to the top

Kinski made corporate history in 1998 when he became the first former human
resources director to head a FTSE 100 company in the UK. The former HR director
of both Jaguar Cars and Scottish- Power became chief executive officer of
transport group Stagecoach.

departing in 2000, he has moved to Japanese-owned Nomura International, where
he works as a transaction director for Guy Hands, one of the UK’s most
prominent entrepreneurs. He assists Hands in identifying and acquiring large
business opportunities.

is responsible for Nomura’s pub businesses, comprising 5,500 pubs; the First
Quench retail chain and Hyder Business Services, which provides outsourced
services for local government.

began his career as an electrician, moving into the car industry as an engineer
and progressing to become HR director of Jaguar by 1990.

1992, he moved to the utility Scottish- Power as HR director and progressed to
line management roles, culminating in reaching the posts of chairman and CEO of
Southern Water and chairman of Manweb Electricity, both part of the
ScottishPower group.

the HR background helps

has clearly helped me in developing my career. Winning in business is about
achieving competitive advantage and successfully managing change – proactive
human resources management is fundamental to this as, at the end of the day, it
is people who make things happen."

for those starting out

sure that you really understand the strategy and business issues for your
organisations; develop a set of integrated initiatives to support these
requirements. People who do this will be quickly recognised and

Ian Gibson
Chairman, Nissan Motor Iberica

to the top

Ian has spent his entire career in the car industry. He has held senior
personnel management posts, as well as general management and manufacturing
roles, in Ford in the 1970s in Halewood and Dagenham in the UK and Cologne in
West Germany, having graduated from the University of Manchester and the London
Business School.

1984, he has held senior general management posts at Nissan, culminating in
promotion to senior vice-president of the global car firm, now controlled by
Renault. He was the first European to become a senior vice-president at the
firm. He stepped down from the executive committee in March 2001, but retained
the role of chairman of Nissan Motor Iberica.

the HR background helps

Ian describes his experiences in personnel at Ford as being the prime motivator
for seeking a senior role at Nissan, which was new to manufacturing in the UK
in 1984, when he joined. "During the 1970s I had developed views on what
did not work in running a British workforce at a time of industrial strife. I
had experience of lots of labour relations issues, dealing with unions and trying
to see what drove those wedges between management and workforce," he says.

gave me the fundamental view that training and commitment to training is
fundamentally of great importance. Rather than just acquiring skills, it is
part of creating almost a bond of trust.

business gains long-term capability and flexibility. As an employee, you see
that the company is prepared to invest in you and not only in marketing
programmes, products and equipment."

Ian was convinced that greater partnership could be realised by starting with a
clean slate, so he jumped at the chance of working with Nissan when it began
production in Sunderland, north-east England. The plant is now the most
productive in Europe.

for those starting out

Ian advises personnel managers aiming for the top posts to "understand the
business; this does not just mean the numbers", he says. "You need to
engage with colleagues enough to understand what the drivers are in the core
activities of the business."

Chief executive, New Zealand Tourist Board

to the top

alumnus of the car industry, George Hickton discovered the importance of
integrating HR and strategic management independently, and in advance of many

began in personnel with the Ford Motor Company, eventually reaching a senior HR
role, before becoming general manager sales and marketing at Honda New Zealand.
In 1988, he took over the New Zealand Employment Service, moving to the Income
Support Service – responsible for making welfare payments to those in need in
the country – in 1992. In this role he transformed the agency into an
organisation more focused on the customer by setting up teams to replace narrow
functional disciplines.

this, he took over at the media and betting company TAB, before being appointed
to head the country’s tourism board in April 1999.

a versatile manager and, by many accounts, an inspirational figure, is famous
for cutting through the jargon and accepted ways of administration. When in
charge of the New Zealand Income Support Service, he used to begin staff
briefings by quipping, "We are giving out $10bn a year and nobody likes
us! We could be doing something wrong."

the HR background helps

argues that management in general is about enthusing and empowering people,
which means that training in personnel can be invaluable. "As a guiding
principle, I believe that people actually want to contribute to the
organisation that they work for, if they are given the opportunity."

for those starting out

main advice is to know and understand what people in the organisation actually
do, and as such be prepared to engage in "management by wandering
around", he advises.

Chief executive, ECA International

to the top

Mann, previously international HR manager at NatWest Bank, is hardly unique in
having moved from HR management to head an HR agency, but ECA International is
a major international business in its own right, so, as managing director, Mann
qualifies for this list. ECA has 16 offices worldwide and more than 1,500
member and client companies, providing consultancy and advice to multinational

NatWest, he directed the expatriate programme and the personnel function for
the European Region of NatWest Markets, the investment banking division.

this, he worked for six years as a consultant in the field of expatriate policy
and administration, having worked for Bank of America covering Europe, the
Middle East and Africa.

early career began at Rolls-Royce, followed by six years spent at Avis Rent A
Car installing and implementing a job evaluation programme.

was appointed managing director of ECA International in June 1997.

the HR background helps

argues that HR people have to learn the business; but, by the same token,
business managers must learn the people. "The organisation and the people
in it are to my mind synonymous," he says. "The goals of the
organisation and of the people have to be congruent. If you do not do that, no
one achieves any of their goals and you do not keep your staff."

for those starting out

big. Think about your business." The profession has limited itself by
being too concerned with administration, he says. "What we really need to
do is ensure the triumph of people and strategic thinking. If we achieve that,
then there will be many who can move into general management roles."

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