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Shell's Hugh Mitchell named most influential practitioner of the decade

As he announces his retirement, Hugh Mitchell is named the most influential HR practitioner ever

Hugh Mitchell, chief human resources and corporate officer for Shell, has been named the most influential HR practitioner of the decade.

The most influential HR practitioners and thinkers of the past 10 years were unveiled at the HR Most Influential event at Claridge’s, London.

Mitchell, who recently announced his retirement, was also named the most influential HR practitioner of the year, with Neil Morrison of Penguin Random House and Valerie Hughes D’Aeth of the BBC completing the top three.

Mitchell was unable to attend the event because of an executive meeting in Singapore, so Ronan Cassidy, executive vice president of HR, upstream international at Shell, accepted the awards in his place. Cassidy will take over from Mitchell when he retires.

The expert panel that ranks the most influential HR practitioners described Mitchell as “the right hand to his CEO”.

He is seen as having enormous longevity, working incredibly well at board level, being great at stakeholder management, and having a strong point of view about the role of HR.

HR magazine publishing director Siân Harrington added of Mitchell: “He manages HR in a highly complex and challenging company, contributes widely to the profession, and runs HR in a business that covers 90 countries and employs some 100,000 people.

“He champions progressive HR policies, including flexible working in some of the most senior HR roles in the business, showing that mature corporations can successfully change and pioneer new approaches."

During his acceptance speech Cassidy revealed Mitchell has recently become a grandfather, and drew attention to Mitchell’s "irreverent" sense of humour. He also praised Mitchell for his achievements in getting people management strategies on the very highest business agenda at Shell.

The other most influential practitioners of the decade (in no particular order) are:

Sandy Begbie, group operations officer, Standard Life

Stephen Dando, operating partner, Bain Capital

David Fairhurst, senior vice president people, McDonald’s

Helen Giles, executive director of HR, St Mungo’s Broadway

Tim Miller, non-executive director

Angela O’Connor, founder and CEO, The HR Lounge

Gillian Quinton, managing director (business enterprise and shared services), Buckinghamshire County Council

Claire Thomas, senior VP HR, GlaxoSmithKline

Caroline Waters, founder, CW Consulting Box