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HR Excellence Awards 2010: HR Director of the Year

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Winner: Sandra Campopiano, chief people officer, Premier Farnell

When Sandra Campopiano joined electronics distribution company Premier Farnell as chief people office in 2006, it was at the start of a three-year transformational journey that was designed to grow the business profitably and change it from a traditional catalogue-based operation to a web-based business. Four years later the £800 million company is the 35th best performer in the FTSE 250 and has millions of customers in more than 156 industries globally.

Consistent high performance and excellence in service is essential. The firm delivers 99.6% of orders the same or next day, and Campopiano has helped make a significant difference, driving a culture of accountability and high performance throughout the organisation.

Campopiano is a trusted partner of CEO Harriet Green as well as the board. Green said she would be a worthy winner of this award when our shortlist was announced. It appears she was not alone in thinking this, as Campopiano received the most votes in our reader poll.

Premier Farnell employs 4,500 in 28 countries and strives to have a diverse team that reflects the communities in which it works. Campopiano has put in place sophisticated talent management processes, helped build a global team and has worked on organisational design and openness of communication. She has driven the engagement agenda, with a global survey - Your Voice. Based on the feedback, the company has focused on leadership development, personal development, innovation and building stronger relations with customers. Staff are encouraged to take one hour for personal development a week on, for example, sales training, job shadowing a role related to aspirational development or studying in a new online learning centre.

Campopiano continues to look for innovative ways to address traditional HR challenges, including eLife - an online performance management and objective setting tool - and a cross-functional, global innovation exchange in which participation changes every quarter.

Campopiano is described by a colleague as direct and honest with business acumen, personal integrity and wise counsel that is valued throughout the business. For these reasons she is our HR Director of the Year.

METHODOLOGY

The shortlist was put to an online vote. Individual votes were then allocated a score on a sliding scale, with votes from HR directors or managers contributing the largest score and votes from within the company or from company suppliers contributing the smallest score.

FINALISTS

Mark Adams, HR director, Santander

Robert Booker, executive vice president human resources, BG Group

David Cooper, HR director, Royal College of Nursing

Andy Doyle, group HR director, ITV

Misty Reich, vice president of HR, UK and Ireland, KFC

David Smith, HR director, LV=

Graham White, HR director, Westminster City Council