HR and People Leaders in the UK are eager to shift 'back to human'. They are moving away from traditional processes and towards creativity and innovation in HR operations to attract and develop talent, manage and reward performance, and optimize workforce strategy. Here is a lineup of the disruptors, the veterans, thinkers, and long-standing practitioners that have redefined Human Resource practices & processes in the United Kingdom. These are the Top 40 People Leaders in the UK building workplaces of tomorrow.
Disclaimer: The list is purely subjective and is created on the basis of relevant experience and contribution of the selected professionals to the field of human resources. If you have any suggestions or recommendations of other names who deserve to be a part of the list, please reach out to us and nominate your choice.
40 HR Leaders in the UK building workplaces of tomorrow
1. Eugenio Pirri
Eugenio Pirri is the Chief People and Culture Officer at the Dorchester Collection. He has over 30 years of operations and people resources experience, with a proven success record in people management, organizational development, finance, change management and employee relations. Eugenio is a Culture Champion and a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion. He is a leader who thoughtfully challenges the status quo and disrupts traditional ways of thinking by building long term sustainable people, culture and strategic initiatives.
2. Sharon Benson
Sharon Benson is the Transformation & People Director (Interim) at Edison Young People, with nearly 20 years of experience in the field. She is a commercial and strategic Executive Director with a proven record of working collaboratively with boards to turnaround underperforming businesses through driving and leading transformational culture change.
3. Tanuj Kapilashrami
Tanuj Kapilashrami is the Group Head of Human Resources at Standard Chartered Bank, and Non-Executive Director at Sainsbury’s. Tanuj is also a board member of the UK Financial Services Skills Commission and Asia House, which is a London-based centre of expertise on trade, investment and public policy whose mission is to drive engagement between Asia and Europe.
4. Jabbar Sardar
Jabbar Sardar is the Global HR Director at BBC Studios with over 30 years in the field of Human Resources and Organizational Development. He is one of the most influential HR practitioners in the UK and has also been ranked among the top 20 in the nation by the HR Magazine.
5. Neil Morrison
Neil Morrison is the Group Human Resources Director at Severn Trent Water. He is an FTSE100 executive with over 25 years of international experience. His expertise lies in change management, compensation and benefits, organizational development, talent management. Neil has also partnered with CEOs and board members and contributed to broader business leadership and strategy.
6. Tim Jones
Tim Jones is the Chief People Officer at the London Stock Exchange Group, and has headed HR operations for over 22 years. During his time at LSEG, Tim has overseen a period of continued growth in market financing, diversification of product and location, as LSEG has grown from a stock exchange to a global financial markets infrastructure business.
7. Deborah Lee
Deborah Lee is the Group Chief People Officer at the Compass Group. She is an HR leader with over two decades of experience in the field. Deborah has been described as a forward thinking professional with the ability to empower and engage teams. She is well-renowned for her capability of seeing the bigger picture while delivering great results.
8. Peter Cheese
Peter Cheese is the Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) and the author of ‘The New World of Work’. He is recognised as a consultant, speaker and writer in the field of human capital and organisation, and has worked with many organisations, practitioners and thought leaders in this field.
9. Lucy Adams
Lucy Adams is the Chief Executive Officer at Disruptive HR, an institution created after having held senior HR level roles in a variety of sectors, most recently at the BBC. Frustrated with the lack of innovation and fresh thinking in the field, Lucy created Disruptive HR to help HR Directors and business leaders do things differently. She is the author of the bestseller ‘HR: Disrupted’ and is a popular keynote speaker.
10. Henry Stewart
Henry Stewart signs himself as the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happy Ltd. and the author of the book ‘The Happiness Manifesto’. With nearly 35 years in the field, Henry is focused on helping organizations create better & happier workplaces, through training and consultancy programs.
11. David Green
David Green is the Executive Director and Member of the Board at Insight 222, Founder and CEO of Zandel. He is an acclaimed writer, conference speaker, and a host of the Digital HR Leaders Podcast. At Insight 222, they help member organisations create more value and better employee experience through the wise and ethical use of people analytics. David also writes regularly about people analytics and its role in the future of work and the evolution of the HR function.
12. Sally Austin
Sally Austin is the Chief People Officer at Wincanton with over 20 years of experience in HR operations. She is an Executive Board member with a passion to improve organizational capability and business value through her strong HR leadership and expertise. She has an in-depth experience within Engineering, Defence and Manufacturing Industries covering change management, business integration, workforce planning and L&D.
13. Beth Whittaker
Beth Whittaker is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Veolia, has over 20 years of field experience and is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD. During her initial months as company CHRO, Beth was Deputy Lead for the Covid-19 response and ensured dynamic and ongoing response to all people related matters. Additionally, she identified and accelerated key HR strategy tactics in order to ensure optimal business performance & continuity and secure longterm sustainability.
14. Tim Pointer
Tim Pointer is the Chief People Officer and Senior Vice President of HR at CAA-GBG Global Brand Management Group, and the Founder of Starboard Thinking. He has broad-based goal experience across FTSE100 and large-scale private businesses. An experienced business professional with nearly 30 years in the field, Tim is highly proficient in high-performance culture, organization development, leadership performance, talent strategies, and critical HR operations.
15. Janina Norton
Janina Norton is the Global Head of Employee Experience & Inclusion at AXA Partners and has garnered 15 years of HR experience under her sleeves. She leads the development and implementation diversity and inclusion strategy, workforce strategy and employee experience initiatives.
16. David D’Souza
David D’Souza is the Membership Director at the CIPD, and Ambassador for The MemberWise Network. He is a regular speaker and writer on people and the world of work and on, in particular, technology and culture. His particular areas of focus include Evidence based management, Leadership, Organisational Development, Future of work, Corporate Ethics and Culture, and Change Management.
17. Suzanne Kielty
Suzanne Kielty is the Director of HR, Support Centre & Strategic Change at Marks and Spencer with over 25 years of experience in the field of HR. She is skilled in Culture Change, HR Policies, Organizational Design, and Performance Management. Suzanne is a Fellow of CIPD and has a Master’s degree focused in Coaching from Ashridge Business School.
18. Steve Collinson
Steve Collinson is the Head of The People Team at Zurich Insurance Company Ltd., an institution he has served for over 33 years. His major focus areas include performance management, leadership, building the future workforce, and developing next-generation reward package.
19. Jo Butler
Jo Butler is the award winning FTSE250 Group Human Resources Director / Chief People Officer at ASOS.com. She has over 30 years of multi-sector experience in the HR profession, is a Transformation Executive, Strategic Business Partner, and an HR Generalist.
20. Rupert McNeil
Rupert McNeil is the Government Chief People Officer for the UK Civil Service, with over 30 years of experience in the field of Human Resources. He is an experienced transformation leader, a qualified GCMA, a Fellow of the CIMA, a Fellow of the CIPD, and Companion of the CMI. Rupert is responsible for all aspects of workforce strategy at Civil Service level across 30+ organisations, and functional & professional leader for professional HR staff.
21. Andrew Spence
Andrew Spence is a Workforce Futurist, Global Conference Speaker, and HR Transformation Director at Glass Bead Consulting. He is an experienced and independent management consultant specialising in building people-centric organizations.
22. Nikki Humphrey
Nikki Humphrey is the Executive Director of People at John Lewis Partnership. She is a commercial People Director with executive board level experience in Retail, Aviation, Banking, Insurance, Asset Management, Media, Manufacturing and Engineering. She is known for her expertise in leading large scale organisation and culture change, building organisational capability, and aligning talent, reward and succession plans with strategic business goals.
23. Stuart Branch
Stuart Branch is the Chief People & Digital Officer at Weetabix and has been leading HR operations across companies for over 30 years. He is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a strategic board level People & Digital professional, with a proven track record in organisation development, change and Mergers & Acquisitions.
24. Harvey Francis
Harvey Francis is the Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Skanska. He has headed roles in HR leadership for over 25 years. Harvey is a commercially focused and ethically driven FTSE HR leader, with a passion for creating culture where people and organisations come together for mutual benefit.
25. Kathryn Austin
Kathryn Austin is the Chief People & Marketing Officer at Pizza Hut Restaurants UK. She is also an active member of the CMI as Board Chair CMI Cmyru/Wales. Kathryn has headed HR operations for over 20 years and has worked globally across a range of sectors and business types, from start-up to FTSE 100 organisations. She is a functional expert in Human Resources and Marketing with extensive general management experience.
26. Sue Swanborough
Sue Swanborough is the Human Resources Director at Europe Snacks Kolak, and has successfully led HR operations for over 30 years. She is a Fellow of the CIPD and is an influential, insightful leader, commercially focused HR Director with broad business experience. Sue has a track record of delivering future focused people strategies to transform organisations, cultures, leaders and teams across different sizes of businesses, geographies and functions.
27. Caroline Nugent
Caroline Nugent is the HRD at Financial Ombudsman Service. She’s has worked as a Human Resources professional for over 30 years. Caroline is a Non Executive Board Member at the CIPD. She describes herself as a, “A solid HR Director known for pragmatic outcome based solutions.”
28. Hannah Awonuga
Hannah Awonuga is the Global Head of Colleague Engagement, Group Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays, is a Multi Award-winning DEI speaker, author, and career coach. She is an authentic, intentional Diversity and Inclusion change-maker who has experience driving cultural change and inclusion to create a world of equity and parity. As Global Head of Colleague Engagement, she is responsible for the global strategic oversight of the firm's Employee resource group structure with over 25,000 unique members spread across the UK, USA and APAC.
29. Jon Dawson
Jon Dawson is the Group Director of People Development at the Lore Group and has over 20 years of human resources and operations experience. He is ranked amongst the top most influential HR practitioners in the UK and has a proven success record in people management, talent acquisition, change management, and employee relations, with a strategic approach to employee engagement within all constituents of the business.
30. Philippa Bonay
Philippa Bonay is the Director of People and Business Services at the Office for National Statistics. She is an HR professional with close to 25 years of industry experience. Philippa is an experienced FCIPD HR professional across the whole HR remit, with a strong corporate international background and experience in different sectors and industries.
31. Mark McLane
Mark McLane is the Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being at M&G plc, and is Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He is responsible for architecting a firm-wide diversity and inclusion strategy that leverages organizational strengths, enabling M&G plc to remain nimble in the ever-changing global business climate and maintain their competitive advantage by driving innovation to its customers.
32. Perry Timms
Perry Timms is the Founder and Chief Energy Officer of People & Transformational HR Ltd, with over 30 years of experience in people, learning, technology, organization change & transformation. He is one of the most influential HR thinkers in the UK and is a Chartered member of the CIPD. At PTHR, Perry defines their mission as “Building Business for a Better World.”
33. Jo (Sullivan) Mosley
Jo (Sullivan) Mosley is the Assistant Chief Officer and Director of People and Support Services at the Dorset Police. She is also Head of People, and Deputy Director of People and Business Services at The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. She is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD. As an executive member of the Dorset Police leadership team, she has the responsibility for enabling functions including HR, L&D, Resourcing, ICT, Estates, Health & Safety and Fleet.
34. Matt Manners
Matt Manners is the CEO, Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer at Inspiring Workplaces. At Inspiring Workplaces, Matt wants to change the world through the world of work. The institution believes in recognising and shaping the new, forward-thinking organizations of the future. By shedding the light on innovative work environments, they help to encourage positive change in workplaces as well as provide a source of inspiration and education for those who seek it.
35. Claire Gore
Claire Gore is the Director of HR and Organizational Development at onion North West Healthcare NHS Trust, and had led HR teams for over 30 years. She is an experienced FCIP HR professional with a proven track record of operating at a senior and board level in a number of fast moving and dynamic environments.
36. Helen Webb
Helen Webb is the Chief People & Services Officer at Co-op. She is an HR professional with over 20 years of experience in the field. As member of the Co-op Executive, she is responsible for leading the people agenda for a fast-paced matrix organisation across a diverse range of businesses.
37. Alison Rumsey
Alison Rumsey is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Associated British Ports. As a Fellow of the CIPD, Alison has gained over 30 years’ experience in both the public and private sector. Thus, providing people leadership to major organisations for: Infrastructure, Rail, Financial Services and Government. She is a role model for female professionals and an advocate for collaborative working.
38. Jon Ingham
Jon Ingham is the Academy Director, Strategic HR Trainer and Learning Facilitator, as well as HR Strategy and Organization Effectiveness Consultant at the Jon Ingham Strategic HR Academy. He is a consultant, trainer, speaker and writer focusing on strategic and innovative management and organisation of people.
39. Ben Whitter
Ben Whitter is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer at HEX Organization. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading management thinkers and is acknowledged as the leading authority on employee experience globally. In 2021, Ben was shortlisted as a Top 8 finalist for the prestigious Distinguished Achievement Award in the Talent category at the Thinkers50 Awards Gala.
40. Will Serle
Will Serle is the Chief People Officer at Capita, known to be a pragmatic, business savvy HR executive. He has over 28 years’ experience in implementing strategies to successfully manage the workforce in large complex businesses and in overseeing companies going through significant reorganisations.
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October 25, 2021
A very inspiring list. Thanks for putting this together
October 25, 2021
This is such a great list of women leaders! More power to you all