Baroness McGregor-Smith is new CIPD president

Her appointment is a boon to female and ethnic minority leadership in business

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the professional body for HR and people development, has appointed Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE as its new president.

Replacing Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE who is a recognised expert in wellbeing, McGregor-Smith’s appointment marks a high point for female and ethnic minority representation in business leadership; she is known as one of the few women and the first Asian woman to lead a FTSE 250 company.

She is also an advocate for equality in the workplace, and has used her position to promote the idea of diversity and opportunity in organisations, which led to the Government review Race in the Workplace: The McGregor Smith review in 2017 and subsequent reports.

McGregor-Smith had links with the CIPD prior to her appointment as president, having spoken at various events and conferences. Last year, she supported its campaign for ethnicity pay reporting to become mandatory for all large firms which was also recommended in her review.

She is a role model for diverse female leadership in both business and political life; while she holds chair positions at Mind Gym plc, a psychology-based organisational transformation firm, and the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education, she also sits in the House of Lords and is president of the British Chamber of Commerce. She was chair of the Government’s Women’s Business Council from 2012 to 2016.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “Ruby is an outstanding business leader who has campaigned and led on many of the issues that are central to our agenda, which includes encouraging responsible business practice and promoting the importance of inclusion and diversity. We are thrilled to have her as our new president and look forward to working closely with her.”

Baroness McGregor-Smith said: “I have long believed in the principles of responsible business, inclusion and equality, and greater transparency – all of which the CIPD seeks to promote in its purpose of championing better work and working lives. I’m delighted to be joining the CIPD as its president and look forward to working on these vital issues, as well as helping progress and advocating for the people profession.”

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