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Mr Peter A Cheese: oration

Read Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey's oration on Mr Peter Cheese for the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration in July 2017.


Profile photograph of Mr Peter A Cheese
Mr Peter A Cheese

Chancellor, it is my pleasure to introduce Peter Cheese, expert in strategic thinking and Human Resources (HR).

Peter Cheese is the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the CIPD. The CIPD is the professional body in the UK for HR and learning and is one of the largest organisations of its kind in the world. Peter was educated at King’s School in Canterbury and studied at Loughborough University where he gained a First Class honours degree in Ergonomics and Human Sciences.

Peter is an experienced business leader, consultant and recognised expert and strategic thinker in the field of HR and human capital. He has deep content knowledge and experience from his leadership roles and consulting background, and through his connections with many leading HR and business leaders, a wide number of academics and thought leaders, and from his work in the public domain.

Until mid 2009, he was Global Managing Director for Accenture’s Talent and Organization Performance consulting practice and a member of the firm’s Global Leadership Council. Over a period of seven years, he led its growth to more than 3500 practitioners, with a range of business that covered transformation of HR, management of change, learning, strategy of organisation, and HR systems implementation; revenues grew to more than $1bn. He was also jointly responsible for the establishment of the firm’s HR and learning outsourcing businesses.

He is a published author and writer on the subjects of the future of work, HR, talent management, leadership and change management, and is sought out as a commentator, speaker and consultant. He has been voted the most influential thinker in HR in the UK by HR Magazine. He has spoken at business and HR conferences around the world and has worked with the HR leadership and business leadership teams of a wide range of global companies over the last 15 years.

He has been CEO of the CIPD since July 2012, leading a major strategic transformation and growth, and direction for the profession. In that role, Peter has been leading the CIPD’s research activity looking at The Future of Work. He has said:

“The growth of AI and robotisation, combined with the continued pressure to improve productivity and output, is driving profound changes for the future. We need to make sure that the future of work is human, that we are designing workplaces that make the best of people and not just the best of clever technology. Work forms such a major part of our lives and human society, it should contribute to our wellbeing, our growth and our sense of purpose.”

Over the last several years, he has also been closely involved with non-governmental organisations and public sector organisations at board level, including chairing the Institute of Leadership and Management, as member of the European Board of Junior Achiever-Young Enterprise, as part of the Talent and Skills leadership team at Business in the Community, as a member of council at City & Guilds, as Chair of the Engage for Success movement and as a member of the National Forum for Wellbeing. He is a member of the Board of BPP University, and a member of the Advisory Board of Open University Business School, and is a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Management.

So, a common theme for the last 15 years has been Peter’s passion and interest in the people and organisational side of business, in helping improve the management and development of people, the function of HR, and the future of work and in improving working lives.

“Someone told me a long time ago that there are only two things you have in business: one is people and the other is money. We spend a long time worrying about money. We now need to spend more time worrying about people.”

Chancellor, I present to you Peter Cheese who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa.

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