20 Most Influential HR Leaders


Senior Writer

Human resource management is one of the most strategic and challenging jobs. It is an imperative component of any business. HR practitioners are responsible for a wide range of tasks. Right from finding and recruiting new talent, to training, and engaging them, while also resolving various conflicts along with keeping an eye on the overall employee productivity levels, the human resource manager shoulders it all.

Time and again, HR leaders have been hugely responsible for the success of prominent companies globally. Here’s a list of some of the most successful HR leaders from across the world and within the country, who have helped organizations make revolutionary leaps in human resource management. All the HR leaders featured on this list have established new standards in the industry with their quality work.

Top 10 Successful HR Practitioners

  1. Steve Browne


Designation: Executive Director of HR, LaRosa’s Inc.

LaRosa’s is a pizza company located in the greater Cincinnati, OH area. Steve Browne, the executive director of HR in this organization, is a cheerful person and is an exemplary HR leader. He goes out of his way to interact with employees across the organization and build strong relationships with them. 

During his career, Steve has displayed the knack to make tough decisions while also being sensitive to employees and going the extra mile to bring them on board with such decisions.

You can follow Steve Browne on LinkedIn.

  1. Felicia Fields

Felicia Fields

Designation: Vice President of HR, Ford Motor Company

When the previous Vice President of HR left Ford during the 2008 recession period in the USA, the new CEO of the company, Alan Mulally, formed a partnership with Felicia Fields. 

Mulally had a plan to see the company through the tough period without the help of any federal funds. Together, they came up with a practical and strategic HR plan that aimed to improve the condition of the employees during a stressful time. Felicia invested her time in engaging with employees, apprising them of the company’s situation, and talking to them about how they all can work together to tide through the tough phase. This approach led to a remarkable turnaround for Ford.

  1. Hollie Delaney

Hollie Delaney

Designation: Director of HR, Zappos

Zappos is known for its high-quality customer service and social media recruiting services. The current HR Director of Zappos, Hollie Delaney, is a highly accomplished HR professional. Zappos considers her as one of the most key persons behind the success of the company. 

Delaney’s role is to recruit people through social media and engage with the audience effectively. She devises strategies that have enhanced employee retention significantly. Under her leadership, Zappos boasts of a job satisfaction rate of 85%. Many HR professionals are known to emulate Zappos’ HR policies for similar success in their organization.

You can follow Hollie Delaney on LinkedIn.

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  1. Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich

Designation: Director in the Board of Directors in RBL Group

Dave Ulrich is an influential name among HR leaders. He is widely regarded as a professor, consultant, author, and thought leader for global HR management. He has written numerous books, most of which are about HR management practices. He has been ranked as the no. 1 management educator and guru by Business Week. 

Dave created the famous Ulrich Model for Management. His quote, “HR must give value or give notice,” is very famous among HR managers. Though he does not practice HR today, he continues to have his finger firmly on the pulse of HR management and strategies.

You can follow Dave Ulrich on LinkedIn.

  1. Laszlo Bock

Laszlo Bock

Designation: ex-SVP of People Operations, Google

Google is well-known for its left-of-center approach to standard business processes. In keeping with this philosophy, it also refers to its HR department as ‘People Operations.’ Though Laszlo Bock is not Google’s ‘People’s Chief’ anymore, this list would not be complete without his mention. 

Bock’s role was to manage employee productivity and ensure that Google recruits only the top talent. The most significant testimony to his fantastic work at Google is that companies around the world continue to be inspired by Google’s recruitment strategies. He once said, “We spend more time working than doing anything else in life. It’s not right that the experience of work should be so demotivating and dehumanizing.”

You can follow Laszlo Bock on LinkedIn.

  1. Henry “Hank” Jackson

Henry Hank Jackson

Designation: President & CEO, SHRM

Henry Jackson, the leader of the Society of Human Resource Management, is encouraging SHRM members and HR professionals every day to make the profession more appealing for the younger generation. He advises the use of social media platforms and technology for this purpose. 

We know that HR management is not usually the first choice for a profession among young people. Still, Hank has played a significant role in getting people excited about it with his engaging and knowledgeable ways.

  1. Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn

Designation: CHRO at Kinetix

Kris Dunn is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Kinetix. He believes that the key to building a great business is to get great people on board. Kris, a regular blogger on HR Capitalist, is also the founder of Fistful of Talent (FOT), a platform that discusses opinions about the world of HR, recruitment, and talent. 

Dunn is known for creating lively and fresh content for eBooks and webinars. He has demonstrated a superior grasp on the concepts of process improvement and talent management. Being a part of the Candidate Experience Council, he also has a fabulous social media presence.

You can follow Kris Dunn on LinkedIn.

  1. Kalen Holmes

Kalen Holmes

Designation: Executive VP Partner Resources (HR), Starbucks

When it comes to coffee, the only thing that strikes everyone’s mind is Starbucks. Starbucks has been able to achieve and uphold this remarkable feat since the ’90s. Kalen Holmes joined as an EVP Partner Resources at Starbucks in 2009. 

Holmes handles end-to-end HR operations for the company. She has played an essential role in keeping the human resource operations of the company aligned with Starbucks’ mission and vision. 

You can follow Kalen Holmes on LinkedIn.

  1. Dianne Mills

Dianne Mills

Designation: Global Head of HR, PayPal

PayPal, an online currency and banking website, lets you send, receive, and transfer money to and from your bank account. It also offers a credit card. Dianne Mills, the Global Head of HR, has created a strong HR presence in PayPal. She has successfully driven HR strategies and focussed on building high-performing teams to promote the growth of PayPal. 

With 25 years of experience in HR functions, she leads a global team of professionals across multiple HR disciplines– change management, talent management, organizational development, compensation, staffing, and more.

You can follow Dianne Mills on LinkedIn.

  1. Alice Harmon

Alice HarmonDesignation: VP of HR and Administration, Evernote

Designation: VP of HR and Administration, Evernote

Evernote, a note-taking app, lets you capture and prioritize ideas, to-do lists, projects, and more so that you can stay organized. It is one of the fastest-growing companies and the best places to work with ample employee benefits. Alice Harmon heads the HR functions for the company and has played an essential role in aligning its people management strategies to serve the varying demands of mobile app customers. 

Harmon has a wealth of knowledge and proven expertise in enabling organizations to stay ahead with the help of their top talent. Under her leadership, Evernote has become popular among job seekers for offering the best benefits in the industry. Alice believes in investing her time in customer engagement– internal, as well as external.

You can follow Alice Harmon on LinkedIn.

Top 10 Successful HR Managers in India

  1. Ajoyendra Mukherjee

Ajoyendra Mukherjee

Designation: Executive Vice President and Head of Global Human Resources, TCS

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is one of the most prominent and well-known companies in India and even the world. Ajoyendra Mukherjee ensures that the 300,000 people working at TCS thrive in a challenging, yet rewarding business environment. 

Mukherjee started two significant initiatives at TCS– Mpower, and Maitre. Mpower deals with the issues of its employees, whereas Maitre deals with the families of the staff and enables them to be a part of the cultural activities at TCS. 

You can follow Ajoyendra Mukherjee on LinkedIn.

  1. Rajan Dutta

Rajan Dutta

Designation: President of Human Resources, RCOM

The Reliance Group is famous for its employee-friendly policies, and it is what keeps the company together. Rajan Dutta has contributed immensely in creating HR strategies that have made this a reality. 

With an experience of 27 years in the field of HR, Dutta believes that engagement, development, and operational excellence go hand-in-hand. It is because of this that Reliance Communications has been able to initiate innovative development-centric programs to boost confidence and competence among employees.

You can follow Rajan Dutta on LinkedIn.

  1. Leena Nair

Leena Nair

Designation: Executive Director – HR, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL)

Leena Nair, a gold medallist from XLRI, is the youngest ever CHRO of Unilever. She bears all the responsibilities of the human capital of Unilever spread across 190 countries. To enable the company to meet its desired business growth, Leena has leveraged her sharp HR acumen to ensure that the right people are appointed for the right roles. She drives a ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ agenda for the organization that has created a workforce that is truly diverse and inclusive. 

You can follow Leena Nair on LinkedIn.

  1. Saurabh Govil

Saurabh Govil

Designation: CHRO and President, Wipro

Saurabh Govil, an author of NHRDN’s journal, also serves as a speaker at NASSCOM’s HR Summit. Along with being the CHRO at Wipro, he is a member of the Advisory Board of SHRM India. At Wipro, he handles all the human resource functions related to talent acquisition, talent engagement, and learning and development across the company.

You can follow Saurabh Govil on LinkedIn.

  1. Mandeep Maitra

Mandeep Maitra

Designation: Country Head – HR, HDFC Bank

Mandeep Maitra is known as the architect of HR functions at HDFC Bank. Under her leadership, HDFC bank found itself featured among the top 10 companies in the list of “The Best Companies to Work for in India” (BT Mercer, 2005) within five years. There are over 33,000 employees spread across 753 branches of the bank in about 330 cities. She is the only woman who has reached this level in HDFC bank.

You can follow Mandeep Maitra on LinkedIn.

  1. Nandita Gurjar

Nandita Gurjar

Designation: Senior Vice President and Head HR, Infosys

Nandita Gurjar has done a commendable job with the HR department at Infosys. To train employees and set benchmarks for growth and development, she started the ‘Learning and Development Unit’ in Infosys. Moreover, Nandita is a member of the World Economic Forum, a Global Advisory Council on New Models of Leadership. 

Nandita Gurjar has been featured in the list of India’s most powerful women and has also been felicitated with the ‘Human Capital Business Leader of the Year’ award by the Singapore Society of Human Resource Management.

You can follow Nandita Gurjar on LinkedIn.

  1. Dilip Kumar Srivastava

Dilip Kumar Srivastava

Designation: Senior Vice President of Corporate Human Resources, HCL Technologies

Dilip Kumar Srivastava works towards driving HR strategies around talent, culture, and organizational effectiveness at HCL. Under his supervision, the HR team of the organization has been hugely successful in attracting, training, and engaging employees effectively. He has been working with HCL for the last 18 years. Previously, he has served some large enterprises like Nestle, Tata, and L&T.

You can follow Dilip Kumar Srivastava on LinkedIn

  1. Joji Sekhon Gill

Joji Sekhon Gill

Designation: Strategic HR Director, DuPont South Asia

Joji Sekhon Gill shoulders the duty of managing the talent strategy for DuPont’s South Asia region. With more than 23 years of experience, Joji has lived and served in three different continents. Before joining DuPont, she has also been the HR Director at Microsoft. There, she was responsible for devising employee management strategies for Microsoft in India. 

You can follow Joji Sekhon Gill on LinkedIn.

  1. Ramkumar Krishnaswamy

Ramkumar Krishnaswamy

Designation: Executive Director and Head of Operations and HR, ICICI Bank

Ramkumar Krishnaswamy holds 24 years of experience in the HR field. He has served public as well as private organizations. Before ICICI Bank, he has worked with companies like Hindustan Aeronautics, Hindustan Unilever Limited, and also ICI India Ltd. He has proven expertise in domains like success management, recruitment, learning, and development, as well as employee relations.

You can follow Ramkumar Krishnaswamy on LinkedIn.

  1. Abhijit Bhaduri

Abhijit Bhaduri

Designation: HR Director, Microsoft Corporation Pvt Ltd.

Having won the Global Talent Sustainability Award for his HR initiatives related to employee relations development and engagement, Abhijit Bhaduri has been an asset to Microsoft. Previously, he has worked for organizations like Eicher, Goodearth, Tata Steel, and FMCG firms like Colgate-Palmolive, and PepsiCo. He has more than 20 years of experience in HR management across several industries and organizations in various countries around the world.

You can follow Abhijit Bhaduri on LinkedIn.

Summing Up:

Finding the right talent and helping them to deliver as per their potential is easier said than done. All the HR professionals featured on this list have made it look effortless. However, they have all worked tirelessly behind the scenes to develop and implement policies that align HR management successfully with organizational goals. They are definitely an inspiration for those looking to make a career in the field of human resource management.

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