With typical humility, Duncan Brown plays down the contribution he has made to the institute during his five-year stint as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) assistant director-general.
"I tend to be cynical about how much impact one single person can have on an organisation," he said. "I like to think my contribution was that I freed it up so our people have more room to pursue meaningful research and get out into places of employment."
But despite his modesty, Brown, who takes up his new role of director of HR practice at consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers in April, is widely credited with raising the profile of the CIPD and HR-related issues in the wider business community.
Certainly, a number of leading academics who have worked with Brown regard his contribution as substantial. At Henley Management College, professor of international HR management, Chris Brewster, believes Brown has helped to make the CIPD more relevant, not just to its 130,000 members but to a broader audience.
"In the last five years the CIPD has become less of a membership organisation and more of a professional body, providing advice, services and visibility to the relevant publics. A lot of people have been involved in that and Duncan Brown has made a major contribution," he said.
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University Management School, thinks his main input has been to assist in proving HR's worth.
He said: "He has been at the vanguard of promoting the idea of performance-led HR - convincing senior people in industry that the function is not just a touchy-feely profession, but that it has teeth and it can make a difference to performance and productivity."
In 2002, when Brown joined the CIPD from HR consultancy Towers Perrin, the jury was out in many organisations on whether HR did actually add any value to the business.
His remit then was clear, according to CIPD director-general Geoff Armstrong, who recruited Brown.
"We wanted Duncan to take on our research arm and use it to offer practical advice on the back of real evidence from practitioners. We were investing a lot in our website at the time and wanted people - members and the wider community - to use it as