​16 Global HR Leaders convened at the worldwide headquarters of Coach in New York on 20 September 2013. The group, which comes together twice a year, was chaired by Matthew Chapman, CEO of The Chapman Consulting Group, and hosted by Matthew Meladossi and Erica Elmer of Coach. The Fall session focused on HR transformation and change management in emerging markets HR structures.

Global HR Leaders attended from Avon, IFF, Philip Morris, Ace Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, Interpublic, GlaxoSmithKline, American Express, Medidata, UNICEF, GeneralElectric, Man Investments and a number of other companies.

Discussion was lively and centred around two presentations. The first was delivered by Tony Sozanski, Head of Rewards for Latin America, for Philip Morris. The second was from James Stoudt, Global Head of Mobility for GlaxoSmithKline, who is based in Washington DC. Both Tony and James had experienced several international assignments in their own careers and their perspectives on changing global HR practices made for interesting listening.

Tony Sozanski talked about the ongoing HR transformation that has been going on within his company. Philip Morris has 60,000 employees across 92 countries with 21 languages. Sozanski talked about the challenges of building three shared services centres across the world in Krakow, Poland; Manilla, Philippines; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He said that the “transitionary” stage of building the three centres had been tough on the global HR function, but that the end result had been more empowerment for managers, increased transparency across the business and more streamlined back office support.

James Stoudt spoke about the importance of having a robust global compensation and benefits strategy around international assignments. GSK is a company that frequently moves its elite talent around the world. While this is advantageous for the careers of these individuals, it creates headaches around the compensation and benefits practices that should be used for these individuals. Stoudt talked about the different regimes used by the company that ranged from local packages, local plus packages and full expatriate packages. He also talked about the fact that the company is encouraging more international moves on local packages if the move is coming at the request of the individual (who wants to gain experience in a new environment).

The group will reconvene again in Spring 2014 and details of the exact dates will be published soon. The next discussion will focus on “Innovation in HR” and is expected to be very popular.