Profiles of Past Winners

2005: Karen Jennings

Senior executive vice president of human resources and communications

SBC Communications Inc.

Karen Jennings ("The Great Communicator") has helped SBC -- one of the nation's largest telecommunications firms and co-owner, with BellSouth, of Cingular Wireless -- overcome multiple recent challenges, including three major corporate mergers, skyrocketing health-care costs and delicate negotiations with one of the nation's largest unions.

Last year, Jennings led negotiations with the Communications Workers of America that led to an unprecedented concession from the union to agree to a 30-day notice prior to any strike and a final agreement that was mutually beneficial for both sides. She oversaw the introduction of a complex consumer-directed health-care plan for the company's active and retired managers.

Meanwhile, Ed Whitacre, SBC's CEO, credits Jennings with helping the company successfully navigate two major acquisitions -- Ameritech in 1999 and Southern New England Telecommunications in 1998. Jennings is currently helping SBC wrap up its latest acquisition, that of AT&T, its former corporate parent.


In addition, the magazine named to its HR Honor Roll: Lea Soupata, senior vice president of human resources at UPS Inc. in Atlanta ("Delivering Value"); Kathy Herbert, executive vice president of human resources for Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Inc. ("Grade-A Choice"); Deborah D. Hirsh, chief human resources officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District ("Smooth Sailing"); and Rose Patten, senior executive vice president of human resources and strategic management for Toronto-based BMO Financial Group ("Quest for Results").

2004: William J. Conaty

Senior Vice President of Corporate Human Resources

General Electric Co.

In an interview with Human Resource Executive, GE's chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt, said: "I just think he's what the great HR leaders are supposed to be about -- attracting and retaining, partnering and keeping the world's best people. He's the best I've ever seen." ("Master of HR at GE")

Jack Welch, GE's former chairman and CEO, meanwhile, said of Bill Conaty: "I don't think there's another human resource leader in the world as good as he is. He has an incredible touch with every level in the organization, from the factory floor to the people who report to the CEO. He's trusted by everybody -- and he deserves it because he's earned it."

Among his many accomplishments are GE's executive-compensation program and corporate-governance standards, which have won the company high praise from the media, HR experts and advocates of stricter standards.

Under Conaty's leadership, GE set specific goals on the amount of GE stock each senior officer must hold (six times base salary for the CEO, five times base for vice chairmen and four times base for senior officers). It also removed stock options and restricted stock from Immelt's compensation, using instead performance-share units that vest in five years and are tied to internal and external financial metrics.


In addition, the magazine named to its HR Honor Roll Louis A. Kaucic, chief people officer of Applebee's International ("Turning Turnover Around"); Jon C. Cecil, chief human resource officer of Lee Memorial System ("Healing the System"); Kay Coles James, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management ("A Daunting Task"); and Karen Jennings, senior executive vice president of human resources and communications for SBC Communications ("Custom-made Leader").

2003: Dennis M. Donovan

Executive Vice President of Human Resources

The Home Depot Inc.

Dennis Donovan, one of CEO Bob Nardelli's first executive hires when he took the reins of Home Depot in December 2000, has put HR at the center of the retailer's transformation. ("Retooling HR") His accomplishments have ranged from putting an HR manager into all 1600 Home Depot stores to creating a Leadership Institute and launching leadership development programs for high-potential managers.

"I needed the best HR officer in the country, and that's Dennis," Nardelli told Human Resource Executive. "A lot of people have theories, but Dennis can actually turn his theories into reality."

Among other things, Donovan and his HR team have embarked upon a dramatic business transformation which has included devising more than 300 initiatives that the HR department committed to deliver within the following three years against the backdrop of a dynamically growing business that opens a new store every 43 hours and creates 40,000 new jobs per year.


In addition, the magazine named to its HR Honor Roll Nancy A. Rae, senior vice president of human resources, DaimlerChrysler Corp. ("Respect for the Ranks"); Sherry Whiteley, senior vice president of human resources, Intuit Inc. ("Business Intuition"); Terry M. Faulk, senior vice president of human resources, Kraft Foods Inc. ("Increasing Strength"); and Rob Norton, senior vice president of corporate human resources, Pfizer Inc. ("Growing Globally")

2002: James H. Wall

National Managing Director of Human Resources

Deloitte & Touche LLP

Under Jim Wall's leadership ("Accounting for Success"), Deloitte & Touche's culture has transformed a "churn-and-burn" atmosphere into one that is collaborative, friendly, supportive and inclusive. His extraordinary leadership skills were particularly evident as the company, whose headquarters were across the street from the World Trade Center, responded to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

As part of his effort to transform Deloitte & Touche's culture during the '90s, Wall painstakingly convinced the firm's partners to adopt a Women's Initiative -- a move that's been instrumental in helping the firm double its revenues during the past five years. This initiative, along with others, has led to Deloitte & Touche's being named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" by Fortune for the past five years and one of the best places to work by Working Mother for eight consecutive years.


In addition, the magazine named to its HR Honor Roll David O. Aker, senior vice president of worldwide human resources for Unisys Corp. (" 'Administrivia' Slayer"), and Cynthia H. Augustine, president of the broadcast group and senior vice president of human resources for The New York Times Co. ("Changing the Times")

2001: Daniel L. Sullivan

Executive Vice President of Human Resources

Qualcomm Inc.

Under Dan Sullivan's leadership ("Marathon Man"), Qualcomm's HR vision has been to energize and guide the company in areas of motivation, employee satisfaction and the achievement of corporate objectives, as well as maximize the firm's operation efficiencies.

Sullivan, mindful of the role students will play in advancing high technology through difficult business cycles, has played a critical role in helping secure funding for the University of California-San Diego's Jacob School of Engineering as part of a new state initiative to establish the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.

Sullivan also led the HR information systems organization to create a fully Web-enabled self-service portal called "My Source", which has helped free up HR managers for strategic projects.


In addition, the magazine named the following three HR executives to its HR Honor Roll: David L. Murphy, vice president of human resources at Ford Motor Co. ("Drive to Excel"); Francesca M. Spinelli, senior vice president of people at Radio Shack ("Radio Active"); and Anne Szostak, executive vice president and director of human resources and diversity at FleetBoston Financial Corp. ("Diversity, With Life")

Oct 16, 2006
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