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Fairhurst and Ulrich named HR's most influential people


David Fairhurst, senior vice-president and chief people officer at McDonald's Restaurants Northern Europe and Dave Ulrich, professor of business administration at the University of Michigan were last night named the most influential people in human resources.

Fairhurst and Ulrich took the top spots in the practitioner and thinker categories respectively in HR’s Most Influential 2008 ranking, in association with Ceridian. For the first time the list is based on methodology developed for HR magazine by Henley Management College’s School of HR, Leadership and Change.

In recent literature, two specific areas have emerged as central to understanding the influence of senior individuals in HR, say Henley’s Ben Reid and Liz Houldsworth, who validated the criteria. First, how they encourage or articulate HR’s connection and alignment with the broader business, and second, how they develop or manage HR’s ‘internal’ functions.

Nominees were rated on three criteria – visibility, originality and personal influence – while practitioners were also rated on commercial impact and thinkers on practical relevance. Both Fairhurst and Ulrich scored highly on visibility and personal influence.

HR directors from the private sector dominate the Most Influential practitioners list, with 16 of the 25 coming from business. Academics reign in the Most Influential thinkers list, with 10 professors from eight business schools.

The ranking was unveiled last night at an event at London’s Claridge’s.