David Fairhurst – Keynote Speaker

Founder & CEO, Global Chief People Officer, unlocking the Power of People in organizations

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Specialist Subjects

  • “Inspirational Change” – Leading turnaround to growth
  • “Superhumans” – People and Technology working in harmony
  • “Invincible Workforces” – Reinventing Performance Management to Accelerate Growth
  • “The Inclusion Dividend” – Diversity is who you hire. Inclusion is how you unlock potential
  • “Brighter Futures” – Redefining the boundaries of Learning & Development


  • English


Four of the top five biggest CEO challenges relate to People. As one of the world’s leading HR practitioners, David Fairhurst offers a unique and thought-provoking perspective on how organizations can rise to meet these challenges.

In his previous role as a Global Chief People Officer, David is credited as one of the key leaders in delivering a historic business turnaround. In doing so, he is one of very few HR leaders to have had the opportunity to deliver a truly global Cultural Transformation program at pace and at scale.

A proven ‘disrupter’, David Fairhurst combines hard data and personal intuition to challenge established thinking and ways of working.

In 2014, the Financial Times reported his prediction that, within a decade, major global economies would be facing labor shortages on a scale which would impact business growth – a “workforce cliff”. This insight gave progressive employers the time to prepare for what became a reality. He has also identified new and innovative solutions to drive greater people value, including challenging the traditional approaches to Performance and Talent Management.

Prior to founding OrgShakers – a global HR consultancy – David was Global Chief People Officer for McDonald’s, Group Manager for Organization Development at H J Heinz; European Director, Recruitment and Leadership Planning at SmithKline Beecham/Glaxo SmithKline; and Corporate HR Director at the retailer Tesco where he also led the Global Talent function. For four consecutive years David was voted ‘Most Influential Practitioner’ by HR Magazine, receiving their lifetime achievement award in 2012. He was also the first HR professional to be named ‘Business Communicator of the Year’ by the Institute of Internal Communications – a title previously awarded to leading business figures such as Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, and Virgin founder Richard Branson.

In 2011, David was appointed by the UK government to act as a Commissioner for the Commission for Employment and Skills – a role he held until the change of government in May 2015. Previously he had served as a Fellow of the Sunningdale Institute; a virtual academy of leading academics and thought leaders created to advise and advance public service. He has also advised officials and politicians at both the European Commission and the European Parliament.

David earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Lancaster University and his Master’s Degree at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School which has recognized his ongoing contribution as a Visiting Professor with an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Middlesex University.

David is a Chartered Companion of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – their highest honour – where he served for four years as Vice President of Learning, Training and Development. He is also a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). In the USA he graduated as a Fellow of the prestigious CEO Perspectives program.

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