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CIPD Conference and Exhibition: UK HR directors have potential to be CEOs


More HR directors could become CEOs in the UK in forthcoming years, according to a best-selling author and global management commentator.

Dr Rami Charan, who has previously advised companies including Bank of America, General Electric, 3M and Procter and Gamble, made the comments at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development conference in Manchester on Tuesday morning. 

Addressing the opening session of the event, Rami Charan said: "People ask me the question: ‘Marketing people are CEOs, finance people become CEOs, why not HR?’

"In India we are having HR people becoming CEOs. I’m not making it up."

During his presentation, Charan outlined three actions that HR workers must undertake in order to make it to the top of organisations: mastering how their business makes money, building their ability to judge people effectively in a non-political manner and keeping a close eye on trends occurring in the outside world.

Speaking to HR Magazine after his presentation, Charan said: "It all depends on leadership. Of course the culture varies from company to company. One that is owned by an American company will differ from one that is totally British-based. "But what is preventing this happening more in the UK is that HR people simply won’t master those three things I mentioned to you. These are very clear rules.

"You can’t benchmark because people from India learn from the UK and vice versa. However, if you do the three things I mention to you there is no reason that HR people cannot move higher."

Charan was raised in India and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School. He is the author of What the CEO wants you to know, Know-how and Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty.