The Personnel Today Top 40 power players

What a line up. It is fitting in an Olympic year to celebrate the successes
of the best HR has to offer. Each year, Personnel Today hand picks the most
influencial people within the HR arena. The last 12 months have been dominated
by recovery from the downturn, organisational change, and consolidation of new
policies and legislation.

There is not a huge change to this year’s line up, with just 12 new entries,
but there are some interesting additions to the list. Reflected in the
newcomers are the broad range of organisations that are impacting on people
issues. These include, unions, suppliers and policy makers.

As with the Olympians, our Top 40 Power Players are competing for the
coveted gold medal – to scoop the honour of being the most influential figure
in HR. However, the field is very strong and all our power players have shown
they are making a difference – with the spotlight very definitely on our very
own HR Olympians.

40. Raymond Jeffers
New entry
Chairman, Employment Lawyers’ Association

Recently appointed, Jeffers has the chance to exert his clout
immediately as the association consults with the Government over accreditation
for lawyers representing claimants at tribunals. The Linklaters’ head of
employment is the first of the ‘magic circle’ to be appointed to the ELA chair.

39. Jack Gratton
New entry
Chief executive, Major Players

Four out of five employees say he inspires them and 89 per cent
that he is full of positive energy. This is according to the results of the
2004 Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For survey, in which the recruitment
consultancy topped the small company category. Gratton, who even does stints on
reception, could teach many corporates a thing or two about team-building and leadership.

38. John Connolly
2003 Position 32
Deloitte Chief executive and senior partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Global
Managing Director

The war for talent may not receive as many column inches these days,
but it hasn’t gone away and Connolly’s appointment of a talent leader to his
executive board aims to ensure the global consultancy is fit for the future. He
is also leading an initiative to harness the full talent of his diverse
workforce – if only all CEOs put people strategies as high on the agenda.

37. Derek Higgs
2003 Position 15
Author,  Review of the role and
effectiveness of non-executive directors

Despite the critical backlash that greeted his report, Higgs
makes the list for the second year running because his spotlight on the
inadequacies of the people management of many boardrooms presents HR with a
not-to-be-missed opportunity to prove its worth when it comes to strengthening
the board’s as well as the organisation’s capabilities.

36. Ruth Spellman
2003 Position 27
Chairman, Investors in People

If IIP can dovetail with the EU Information Consultation
Directive to develop a culture of partnership and involvement between staff and
their organisations, its standard (currently being revised) could take on a
deeper, more practical role. One thing’s certain, five years into the job the
redoubtable Spellman is out to convince HR it can.

35. Gareth Llewellyn
New entry
Group corporate responsibility director, National Grid Transco

Growing evidence of the link between CSR and high performance
has made it a hot topic in today’s boardrooms. Llewellyn enters the list for
the first time on the strength of his company achieving top position in the
latest must-be-seen-in yardstick – the annual Corporate Responsibility Index,
compiled by Business in the Community.

34. Alan Johnson
2003 position 11
Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education

Impressive at the DTI, but has yet to make his mark at the
Department for Education and Skills. Johnson has already suffered a few
brickbats, most notably from NATFHE general secretary Paul Mackney, who accused
him of being "out of touch". But the minister knows his mission, so
expect more from him in the next 12 months.d Vice-president HR EMEA d Oracle

33. Susan Anderson
2003 position 36
Director of HR policy, CBI

The fact that the Prime Minster pushed HR to centre stage at
the CBI annual conference is in no small part down to the influence and hard work
of Anderson. Skills, pensions, workplace legislation and European red tape were
cited by the PM as key issues and had Anderson openly punching the air with
delight. She’ll now be aiming to draw similar attention to the subject of
workplace absence.

32. Guru
2003 position 39
Personnel Today

Last year Guru came from out of the blue to enter the list at
39. Amusing and vexatious in equal measures, he moves up a slot for his
willingness to innovate. Borrowing heavily from the equality watchdogs he set
up his own version of a hotline, Ear to the Ground, to shed light on the
murkier corners of organisations where good HR has failed to penetrate.

31. Andrew Smith
2003 position 10
Minister of State for Work and Pensions

Smith has been reforming the New Deal, but his reputation rests
with tackling the UK’s pensions fiasco. The Government plans to pay £400m into
a fund over 20 years to help those who have lost out and are not covered by the
Pension Protection Fund. Whether this will prove enough – in more ways than one
– remains to be seen.

30. Jean Tomlin
2003 position 25
HR director, Marks & Spencer

Anything Tomlin has achieved in her first year in the job is
eclipsed by the challenge she now faces – putting in place the people
strategies that will help return the retailer to former glories. If the
results-driven Tomlin pulls it off, she will not only have made a name for
herself, but will also give the profession a huge credibility boost.

29. Elaine Way
2003 position 17
President d Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management (AHHRM)

Way has a pivotal role in developing a framework for ensuring
HR posts are fairly graded under the NHS pay reform programme, Agenda for
Change. Under constitutional change, Way has another year in the job, which
means she can see through her Department of Health-backed research project
‘Improving Health through HR Management’.

28. Bruce Robertson
New entry
HR director, Levi Strauss (designate director of HR, Granada Television)

Some clever restructuring and a series of small, but
meaningful, HR measures has created a more united culture at the clothing
manufacturer. Levi’s, says Robertson, is one of the best examples of a company
where HR can be truly influential. When he moves on he has been charged with
making Granada a ‘Great Place to Work’.

27. Bob Crow
2003 position 26
General secretary d National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)

Confrontation is the new name of the game in trade unionism and
the hard-line Crow continues to represent a major threat to employment
stability. Along with his "awkward squad" brothers he’s pledged to
fight for full employment rights and that only means one thing — industrial
action. With the threat of a summer of strikes looming, employer’s can expect
sleepless nights ahead.

26. Chris Stone
New entry
Chief executive, Northgate Information Solutions

Its £150m acquisition of RebusHR makes Northgate the market
leader in the £700m UK HR and payroll market and transforms Stone into an
overnight power player. He returned the company to profit in 2001 following his
appointment in 1999 and will no doubt be looking to grow the company’s market
share, which currently includes 50 per cent of the FTSE 100.

25. Trevor Phillips
2003 position 31
BOXTEXT: d Chairman d Commission for Racial Equality

Phillips technically remains the most influential person on
race relations although the CRE will be replaced in 2006 under government plans
to create an equality super-quango. The rights watchdog has clocked up some
solid achievements in its 28-year history including recent investigations into
the police service and the lack of black football club managers, but the
organisation is considered to be past its sell-by date.

24. Vance Kearney
2003 position 22
Vice-president HR EMEA, Oracle

The last 12 months has been the toughest time in memory for the
technology sector and for Oracle it’s been another year of consolidation. But
plain-speaking Kearney qualifies for this position for continuing to challenge
the status quo. Next year he will be chairing a European works council made up
of 24 countries so we can expect to hear more of his forthright views.

23. Beverley Shears
New entry
HR director, South West Trains

Personnel Today’s 2003 HR Director of the Year continues to
show her mettle, stating at the HR Forum that the crucial relationship is
between staff and management, not unions and management. Her employee-centred
HR strategy at the largest and busiest commuter train company sees her practice
what she preaches back on dry land. Five years in the job, Shears shows no sign
of running out of steam.

22. Allan Leighton
2003 position 30
Chairman, Royal Mail

Although tempered by failure to hit any of its delivery
targets, Leighton has to be applauded for having returned the Royal Mail to its
first profit in four years (£220m compared to £197m loss in 2002-2003). But
dramatic improvements are still needed and Leighton, who attributes the
company’s predicament to "not focusing on employees and customers",
will have to draw on the best of his highly praised people management skills to

21. Mark Serwotka
New entry
General secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)

If the far left activist achieves his aim, the Civil Service
will have to submit to a radical overhaul of its management practices. Serwotka
wants to return to national pay bargaining for civil servants (200 sets of pay
talks currently take place) and has initiated a wave of strikes in a bid to
pressurise the government into ‘meaningful’ pay talks.

20. European Union
New entry

Nothing impacts on HR’s behaviour as
much as European employment law. A recent pan-European survey found HR
departments struggling to deal with an increasingly complex and
legislation-bound working environment, but British HR practitioners should take
heart as they are well ahead of the field when it comes to adapting to change.

19. Will Hutton
2003 Position 12
Chief executive, The Work Foundation

As a 1,000-member organisation, the foundation is a key source
of information, groundbreaking research and opinion on workplace issues. Hutton
is confident that a new productivity model, the High Performance Index,
developed in partnership with six companies "will inform government
thinking and form the basis of business-led productivity indicators".
Expect a higher position next year if he succeeds in extending it to the wider
business community.

18. Colin Povey
2003 Position 16
Chief executive, Carlsberg UK

For the value of strong HR to be widely recognised at board
level, there needs to be more chief executives like Povey. Although he recently
split the profession with adversarial comments over the low calibre of senior
HR professionals, the former HR director wants the function to have "a bit
more attitude" and campaigns for it to have a central role. "HR needs
to be the engine that powers the organisation," he says.

17. Andrew Foster
New entry
Director of HR, Department of Health

With the NHS’s landmark pay reform programme, Agenda for
Change, now being implemented, Foster is turning his attention to retention.
The new entry has been vocal about staff turnover problems and if he gets it
right, his initiatives could save some trusts an annual £2.6m. A tall order,
but this is the world’s third largest employer so nothing about this job is

16. Rita Donaghy
2003 Position 38
Chair d Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas)

It’s been a good year for Donaghy, who has been instrumental in
carving out a new niche for the employment relations body. A £1.4m advertising
campaign introduced a new-look Acas earlier this year as part of measures
intended to make employment law more accessible and encouraged organisations
and employees to use its free services. Donaghy’s tenure has been extended to
October 2006.

15. Lynda Gratton
New entry
Professor of management practice, London Business School

The highly influential Gratton notches up another entry for the
rare distinction of not only being consistently rated as one of the top
strategy professors in the world, but she’s British too. The ‘Human Resource
Strategy in Transforming Organisations’ programme, which she directs, runs to
capacity with a "significant" waiting list. Participating
organisations rate it the best in Europe.

14. Alan Warner
New entry
President, Society of Chief Personnel Officers

As head of a 700-member strong organisation, Warner is a power
player who cannot be ignored. He’s vocal on all the big issues facing his
membership and has excellent credentials: as corporate director (people and
property) of Hertfordshire County Council, he’s led an outsourcing recruitment
initiative that’s on track to save the council £3m.

13. Denise Kingsmill
2003 Position 3
Chair, Accounting for People Taskforce

The Taskforce’s final report has ensured that human capital
information must appear in a company’s operating and financial reviews from
2006 onwards. While the report received a lukewarm reception from some industry
watchers, the DTI accepted all its recommendations and HR should be indebted to
Kingsmill for finally getting human capital onto the balance sheet.

12. Ann Gillies, John Housego, Lyn
Pearson and Vikki England

New entry
HR team, WL Gore Associates

An absence of managers, directors or secretaries earned the
manufacturer of Gore-Tex top spot in this year’s Sunday Times 100 Best
Companies to Work For. So democratic is WL Gore that we didn’t want to suggest
any HR hierarchy so have listed the team. Staff turnover at the company, which
has ‘associates’ rather than employees, has remained at an enviable 5 per cent
for 10 years.

11. Brendan barber
2003 Position 23
Chairman, TUC

According to European TUC leader John Monks, trade unionism is
at a crossroads and Barber has a critical role to play in steering the union
movement down the right track. Good union relations are pivotal to raising UK
employment and productivity and Barber needs to further the drive towards
partnership and consultation in the face of growing unrest.

10. Mike Cutt
2003 Position 21
HR director, B&Q

B&Q’s latest figures are testimony to what a dynamic HR
function at the heart of an organisation can achieve – turnover up 15 per cent
to £591m. A serious motorbike accident did little to quell the indefatigable
Cutt’s enthusiasm and the DIY powerhouse continues to refresh its people
practices to great effect – staff shared a £34m bonus pool this year.

9. Geoff Armstrong
2003 Position 20
Director-general, CIPD

Thanks to Armstrong, the profession now has a title it can add
to its business card. To date, more than 38,000 personnel professionals have
acquired chartered status, marking the culmination of the CIPD chief’s pet
validation project. It may have been a quiet year for Armstrong otherwise, with
number two Duncan Brown more in the spotlight, but the new status forms an
enduring legacy.

8. Martin Tiplady
2003 Position 18
HR director, Metropolitan Police

Having recently recruited its 30,264th officer, the Met is at
its highest ever staffing level and Tiplady moves up for continuing to build on
last year’s recruitment successes. Radically, he is now seeking a change in the
Race Relations Act to allow the Met to positively discriminate as he believes
this is the only way it can deliver on the Government’s ethnic recruitment

7. Julie Mellor
2003 Position 14
Chair, Equal Opportunities Commission

The EOC has clocked up an enviable track record for publishing
research that exposes employers’ equality shortcomings and this year has been
no exception. The UK’s first ever investigation into pregnancy-related
workplace discrimination generated more calls to the EOC than any other
subject. Mellor moves up for her unfailing ability to tap into workplace issues
of the most concern.

6. Duncan Brown
2003 Position 8
Assistant director-general, CIPD

Thoughtful and conscientious, Brown continues to ramp up the
institute’s and HR’s profiles. As well as leading several major research
projects, he’s presented to parliamentary inquiries on age and skills and
represented the CIPD on an advisory group to the Accounting for People
Taskforce and the DWP Taskforce on Pensions.

5. Neil Roden
2003 Position 19
Group director, human resources, Royal Bank of Scotland

Roden earns his place as a key player in a company that has
made human capital management its number one preoccupation. "I don’t think
things about our people management – I demonstrate them," says Roden,
whose Human Capital Model won last year’s Personnel Today award for Innovation
in Measuring Human Capital.

4. Steve Harvey
2003 Position 2
Director of people and culture, Microsoft

Drops out of the top three as he has played less of a core HR
role this year (in the absence of a UK general manager, all directors have
stepped up). Nonetheless, he’s steered the roll-out of a flexible work scheme
and a work-life balance project. Initiatives Harvey’s instituted over the past
five years mean that 88 per cent of employees say they are proud to work for

3. David Smith
2003 Position 5
People director, Asda

We could fill this space with a list of Asda’s ‘best place to
work’ accolades. More significant is what lies behind them and under Smith’s
direction the retailer continues to blaze a people strategy trail. Innovations
include ‘IVF Leave’ and the ‘Adult Learning Initiative’, the pilot of which has
prompted employees to apply for more senior roles helping build a talent pool
of new managers.

2. Clare Chapman
2003 Position 6
Group personnel director, Tesco

No other company better demonstrates the maxim that businesses
are only as good as their people. Tesco announced record pre-tax profits of
£1.6bn (up 17.6 per cent) and is due to share out a £200m reward package.
Chapman’s into the top three this year and her appointment to the Government
taskforce on Apprenticeships could see her influence grow beyond the UK’s
number one retailer.

Personnel Today’s 2004 Top Power Player is…

Patricia Hewitt
Secretary of state for trade and industry and minister for women &

The secretary of state for trade and
industry and minister for women holds on to the number one spot for proving an
impassioned and persuasive champion of equality and diversity. Her flexible
working legislation, introduced last year, follows the sweeping Employment Act
of 2002 and is driving a cultural shift – if not a revolution – in the
workplace. Around a quarter of parents with children under six have requested
some form of flexible working and 68 per cent of companies say they feel it has
a positive effect on employee/employer relations. The mother of two is unlikely
to rest on this issue yet though, and says she would like to see more men with
childcare responsibilities request the opportunity to work flexibly. There’s
much more to Hewitt than work-life balance though. Last year the DTI launched
its first ever strategy for driving improvements in productivity, as a result
of the findings by US management guru Michael Peters, who was drafted in by
Hewitt to investigate why the UK lags behind its global competitors. Three
years into the job, Hewitt shows little sign of running out of ideas,
initiatives or enthusiasm and could just prove herself to be the best trade and
industry secretary the UK has ever had – as well as being a fantastic role model
for a profession dominated by women.

What do you think?

Have we got it right, or are we
losing the plot? who would you have in your top 40? let us know. send the names
of your hr stars to [email protected]

Five to watch in 2005 . . .

David Varney
Chairman, HR Revenue and Customs

From this September, the eyes of the
HR community will be on Varney to see how he handles one of the largest ever UK
mergers. The former mmO2 chairman, who has an impressive track record in
corporate restructuring, will have to oversee 14,000 job cuts, the
implementation of new IT systems and the integration of two vastly different
cultures at the Inland Revenue and HM Customs. There’s every chance it could
become the de facto model for all merger activity.

Rod Eddington
Chief Executive, British Airways

Flag carrier BA has emerged from the
"most testing period in aviation history" to return profits up 70 per
cent to £230m. A radical cost-cutting programme – Future Size and Shape – may
not have been entirely popular, but it did earn the former HR director an award
for demonstrating "outstanding strategic thinking and leadership over the
past year".

Denis Waxman
Executive Director, Hays Personnel

Waxman takes over from current chief
executive Colin Matthews next month following a radical restructuring to focus
on specialist recruitment and HR services. Hays has already shown the first
improvements in operating profits in two years. As one of the original founders
of the business, Waxman is part of its fabric and as such is best placed to
make Hays a formidable player in the sector.

Rory Murphy
Joint General Secretary Unifi

Rory Murphy is a new breed of trade
unionist who believes that working with employers in partnership is preferable
to the confrontational stance favoured by his union colleagues. His presence as
the sole trade unionist on board the Aurora for the HR Forum was a testament to
his willingness to engage UK plc rather than ram his message down their throats.

Ed Williams
Head of CSR, Marks and Spencer

With 74 per cent of consumers
claiming that a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) record would
influence their purchasing decisions (Mori), former HR practitioner Williams
could well hold the key to the shaken retailer’s turnaround. Employment now
sits at the heart of  M&S’ CSR
strategy and its pioneering Marks & Start programme aims to increase
employment prospects for 10,000 disadvantaged individuals.

Top 40 power players 2004

1          Patricia
Hewitt  (1)

2          Clare Chapman            (6)

3          David Smith      (5)

4          Steve Harvey    (2)

5          Neil Roden       (19)

6          Duncan Brown (8)

7          Julie Mellor       (14)

8          Martin Tiplady  (18)

9          Geoff Armstrong           (20)

10        Mike Cutt         (21)

11        Brendan Barber            (23)

12        WL Gore         (NE)

13        Denise Kingsmill           (3)

14        Alan Warner     (NE)

15        Lynda Gratton  (NE)

16        Rita Donaghy    (38)

17        Andrew Foster (NE)

18        Colin Povey      (16)

19        Will Hutton       (12)

20        The EU            (NE)

21        Mark Serwotka            (NE)

22        Allan Leighton  (30)

23        Beverley Shears            (NE)

24        Vance Kearney            (22)

25        Trevor Phillips  (31)

26        Chris Stone      (NE)

27        Bob Crow        (26)

28        Bruce Robertson          (NE)

29        Elaine Way       (17)

30        Jean Tomlin      (25)

31        Andrew Smith  (10)

32        Guru     (39)

33        Susan Anderson           (36)

34        Alan Johnson    (11)

35        Gareth Llewellyn           (NE)

36        Ruth Spellman  (27)

37        Derek Higgs     (15)

38        John Connolly   (32)

39        Jack Gratton     (NE)

40        Raymond Jeffers           (NE)

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