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BT people and policy director Caroline Waters steps down to pursue portfolio career

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Caroline Waters, director of people and policy at BT and one of HR’s Most Influential Practitioners 2012, is to step down after 34 years at the company to take up a portfolio career.

Waters, who is regarded as one of leading directors in the HR field and who was voted third by HR magazine’s readers in this year’s Most Influential ranking, will be combining paid and voluntary work in her new working life.

She starts her portfolio life on 1 April 2013 following a period of gardening leave from BT as of January.

Waters said: “This year has been amazing, from the Jubilee through to the life changing impact of the London 2012 Games. I just don’t know how I will ever ‘top it’ so I’ve decided not to try.

“After nearly 34 wonderful, chaotic years of creating change and new opportunities at BT I’m off to take up a portfolio life and chase some dreams of my own.”

Waters is a stalwart of the HR industry and is regarded as one of the most business-focused HR directors. She was described as “a great ambassador for the function” combining “an ethical approach with business know-how” in this year’s HR Most Influential ranking.

Those who ranked her also pointed to her long commitment to better working practices, enthusiasm for work life balance, diversity and flexible working, even against a backdrop of difficult economy and industrial relations.

Waters sits on the board of the UK Resource Centre for Women, encouraging women into technical careers. As a trustee of the Employers Forum on Age, she was instrumental in the introduction of the 2006 age regulations. She is founder and chair of the Employers Forum on Belief and chair of Employers for Carers, where she was influential in changing legislation to extend the right to request flexible working.

In 2010 she was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours.