Who should be the next SHRM President?

The news came out a week ago that Hank Jackson, President of SHRM, is going to be retiring at the end of the year. He will have been the CEO of SHRM since 2010 – which is a very long time for Presidents, CEO’s etc.. Now the Board of Directors has to decide where to go next. The great thing is that there are some amazing individuals worth of being considered. Depending on the 5 year strategic plan – here are some great people I would suggest the Board considers! In the comments I would love to hear your ideas!

The Celebrity Play:

This is a fun play for the Board as you can go for a celebrity that has changed HR. This is also not uncommon for very large Non-Profits (e.g. Boys Scouts of America with Randall Stephenson). Of course, there is a great HR Celebrity that just became free! Laszlo Block, former SVP of Google People Operations.

The International Play:

One of the clear strategies of SHRM has been to grow internationally, in which case, lets go big. A perfect candidate would be to get Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD. It would show the rest of the world that SHRM is truly becoming global in perspective.

The Strategy & Service Play:

I will admit, I am biased here – but I would be a huge fan of Wayne Cascio getting the next role. He has been president of the SHRM Foundation for years, served as Chairman of the Standards Committee, and knows HR so well I think he has been inducted into more HR Halls of Fame than anyone in HR history.

The Retro Play:

One of the criticisms that Hank always had to deal with was that he was not an HR person, so there is an opportunity for the Board to respond by bringing back someone the HR profession knows and loves. Two names come to light on this front, and that is China Gorman and Sue Meisinger. Both of which are highly competent!

The Certifications / Revenue Play:

If SHRM sees the strategic focus to be to continue the Certifications growth, then there is a great candidate sitting inside the SHRM organization, and that is Alex Alonso, SVP of Knowledge Management for SHRM. He led a great team and worked to make the SHRM certification what it is today. This not only an interesting “HR” play, but there should be little doubt by all that certifications also drive SHRM revenue.

The HR Merger Play:

One of the concerns I have about SHRM is that it is focused on HR generalists and allowed other HR organizations to grow up and take market share (e.g. World At Work, etc.). A fun play would be to get Tony Bingham, President of ATD. It would show SHRM’s desire to be inclusive to all the functions of HR.

The Research Play:

The last critique of SHRM is that it can be too much of a member association group (e.g. focused on who is performing at the National SHRM conference) and maybe not enough on research and driving rigor based HR. Think about IEEE as an alternative version. In which case SHRM would need to start migrating to an organization with it’s own professional journal and a leader with that type of credibility. There are lots of fun names that could do this – but the top of my list would be ¬†John Boudreau.

John, of course, is one of the leading thought leaders in the US for HR and has built and led some HR Research organizations (e.g. Cornell Center for Advanced HR Studies).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *