These are the 40 leading HR heads in 2021


Since 2003, the editors of Personalmagazin have compiled a list of the "40 leading HRminds" (#40Köpfe) every two years, who stand for the transformation of HR and actively shape the world of work. "Our ranking is well established inthe HR community and is the only one that focuses on people. We select 40 HR heads in order to be able to represent the performance of the HR community", explains Reiner Straub, publisher of the HR magazine.


Selection procedure and criteria

The selection of candidates took place in two stages. First, a shortlistwas drawn up based on suggestions from readers, experts, multipliers and theeditorial team. In the second step, the editorial team researched the 150 people on the nomination list, created profiles and made the final selectiondecision.


Trends and developments

The ranking recognises the achievements of the last two years. This year, the competition was dominated by the corona pandemic, in which HR managers played a central role. "Companies had to put between two and six million employees on short-time work every month, home office arrangements had to be created for up to 80 percent of office employees and health protection concepts had to be implemented in all companies. With the outbreak of the pandemic, HR managers were at the centre of crisis management and were able to show what they were capable of," explains Reiner Straub.


In addition to acute crisis management, HR management continued to work on topics such as digitalisation, diversity, corporate culture, qualification and new working environments. HR heads have implemented lighthouse projects for which they could receive awards. "The 40 HR heads have not only done outstanding work in their field, they have also actively participated in the debates and further development of the HR community," Straub explains the criteria for the selection.


The HR Managers

The leading figures in management include: Julia Bangerth (Datev eG), Inga Dransfeld-Haase (BP Europa SE, Bundesverband der Personalmanager e. V.), Rupert Felder (Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG), Dr. Elke Frank (Software AG), Bettina Karsch (Vodafone GmbH), Gunnar Kilian (Volkswagen AG), Sirka Laudon(AXA Konzern AG), Oliver Maassen (Trumpf GmbH), Sylvie Nicol (Henkel AG &Co. KGaA), Dr Thomas Ogilvie (Deutsche Post DHL Group), Anna Ott (HV Capital), Verena Pausder (Pausder Ventures GmbH), Dr Ariane Reinhart (Continental AG), Marion Rövekamp (EWE AG), Petra Scharner-Wolff (Otto Group), Martin Seiler (DeutscheBahn AG), Jörg Staff (Fiducia & GAD IT AG), Alexander R. Zumkeller (ABBGermany).

The scientists

Leading figures in the scientific community include: Prof. Dr. Torsten Biemann (University of Mannheim), Prof. Dr. Heike Bruch (University of St.Gallen), Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Kabst (University of Paderborn), Prof. Dr. Uwe P.Kanning (Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences), Prof. Dr. Simone Kauffeld(TU Braunschweig), Prof. Dr. Dr. Martin Kersting (University of Gießen), Prof.Dr. Carsten C. Schermuly (SRH Berlin), Prof. Dr. Dirk Sliwka (University ofCologne), Prof. Dr. Gregor Thüsing (University of Bonn), Prof. Dr. Antoinette Weibel (University of St. Gallen).


The advisors

Leading figures in the consultancy field include: Kai Anderson (Mercer), Prof. Dr. Björn Gaul (CMS Hasche Sigle), Ana-Cristina Grohnert (Charta derVielfalt e. V.), Volker Jacobs (TI People), Prof. Dr. Walter Jochmann(Kienbaum), Michael H. Kramarsch (hkp Group), Dr. Judith Muster (Metaplan), Prof. Dr. Volker Nürnberg (BDO AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft), Dr. Nathalie Oberthür (RPO Rechtsanwälte), Karlheinz Pape (Corporate LearningCommunity), Dr. Barbara Reinhard (Kliemt Arbeitsrecht), Prof. Dr. Jutta Rump(Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences).


HR Hall of Fame

The "HR Hall of Fame" honours personalities who have rendered outstanding services to HR management over decades. This year's honourees were Prof. Dr. Rainer Strack, Managing Director and Senior Partner of the Boston Consulting Group for many years, and Dr. Elke Eller, who has been a supervisoryboard member and CHRO for two decades.

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