HR Most Influential 2013 Results

The HR Most Influential ranking launched in 2006 in a bid to recognise those that are raising the profile and business impact of HR.

Click right to see the Most Influential Practitioners, Most Influential Thinkers and Most Influential International Thinkers. Coming soon - this year's Lifetime Achievement Awards in the HR Most Influential Hall of Fame.


The HR Most Influential ranking process comprises four elements:

1. HR magazine calls for nominations from readers. These nominations are added to the names of those who have appeared in previous rankings plus people put forward by HR magazine's editorial team to create a longlist of hundreds of names.

2. The names are sense-checked and put forward to an advisory panel of headhunters, former HR directors and academics who debate each of them against set criteria. This results in a shortlist of 50 HR Practitioners that are influential in their field, 30 UK Thinkers and 30 International Thinkers.


HR Practitioners

  1. Personal influence
  2. Practical relevance
  3. Commercial/service impact
  4. Visibility and sharing information
  5. Working in a complex business/organisation
  6. Influential in past year
  7. Tenure (more than two years in a role)

HR Thinkers

  1. Originality
  2. Practical relevance
  3. Ideas are public … written or presented
  4. Challenges status quo in a positive way
  5. Ideas are used by multiple companies
  6. Continually refines ideas
  7. Influential in past year

In 2013 the panel comprised

Angela O’Connor, former chief people officer at the National Policing Improvement Agency

Áine Hurley, senior member of the board practice and lead of the HR practice at Odgers Berndtson

Mike Haffenden, co-founder of the Corporate Research Forum, owner and partner at Strategic Dimensions and former HR director at Hewlett-Packard

John Ainley, former group HR director at Aviva

Dave Ulrich, professor of business administration at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, partner at consulting firm the RBL Group and a member of HR magazine's Hall of Fame

Murray Steele, owner of WMB Steele & Co and former senior lecturer strategic management at Cranfield School of Management

Caroline Waters, former director of people and policy at BT

Andrew Mayo, professor of human capital management at Middlesex University

Gerry Miles, lead for the Ashridge strategic human resource management development programme and former vice president of Capgemini's HR practice and talent director for the consulting practice, director fo global leadership and culture change practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers and in operational and policy roles at BP

Kai Peters, chief executive of Ashridge.

HR magazine publisher Siân Harrington also sat in on the discussion.

3. The shortlist is evaluated once again against the criteria and a final list is created, comprising 30 HR practitioners, 20 UK Thinkers and 20 International Thinkers

4. These list are put forward to the wider HR community for ranking. Respondents selected three individuals from the HR Practitioners list, three from the UK Thinkers list and a further three from the International Thinkers list, whom they ranked (in terms of most influential) and provided qualitative comments to explain their reasoning behind each of the rankings. Participants could also add ‘other nominations’ for up to three additional names (participants were also prompted to note why they had nominated this individual).

The questionnaire continues to emphasise the importance of an organisational rather than individual responses, with one reply from the most senior person in each organisation being allowed. The survey was conducted electronically by Ashridge Business School on behalf of HR magazine. All HR magazine readers were invited to participate as were senior HR professionals on Ashridge Business School’s database. The results were then collated by Ashridge and weighted to provide the final ranking.