Holden bows out as CIPS picks new chief executive

2 November 2000
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02 November 2000 | Geraint John

CIPS chief executive Charles Holden, who has led the institute's transformation over the past three and a half years, is to step down at the end of December. The decision, which was announced to council members at their meeting in Peterborough last month, was not unexpected, but the timing of his departure is sooner than many hoped.

He will be replaced by deputy chief executive Ken James (pictured), who joined the institute at the same time as Holden to head its commercial activity. James has been closely involved in setting its long-term strategy.

Holden told council he had enjoyed the challenge, but now wanted to pursue other long-standing interests, which include studying for a philosophy degree and sailing across the Atlantic.

Speaking to SM, he said much had been achieved since 1997. This included the reskilling of staff at Easton House, 40 per cent revenue growth, new processes for operational and strategic development, and the launch of the corporate partnership programme.

"I am leaving CIPS in good shape, and better focused than when I joined," Holden said. "There is much still to do, but I believe the institute is now well placed to move to a higher level."

Holden acknowledged that some of his goals - in particular, increasing CIPS membership by 10,000 over the life of its first corporate plan - had not been achieved. This had been "too ambitious", he said, and more groundwork in terms of better IT systems, marketing skills and customer care had been required.

Making CIPS membership more attractive will be one of the two top priorities for James when he takes over on 1 January. "The other is helping members to understand the new e-world, where procurement fits in and the impact it will have on the profession," said James, who stressed that his leadership would differ more in style than in substance.

The appointment was backed by CIPS's board of management, and led by chairman Jeannie Bevan (see statement, below).

Leadership to stay in safe hands

I am both sad and pleased to tell you about a change in the leadership of CIPS's management team at Easton. Sad, because Charles Holden has decided to leave the institute. Since he joined us in 1997, Charles has initiated many changes but now he wants to implement his long-standing plan to retire to Devon to pursue his many interests, including a passion for sailing and an Open University degree course.

Pleased, because we have appointed Ken James as our new CEO to build on the successful corporate plan that Charles initiated and led. As we approach the third year of our initial three-year plan, we have made excellent progress under Charles's leadership. Your institute is in excellent health with a strong financial position.

Your honorary officers carried out a detailed review of the challenges facing CIPS over the next three-year plan and the skills required to continue the development of the institute. Charles was instrumental in identifying to us that CIPS needs a different set of leadership and management skills for the next stage in our development.

With the advice and guidance of external recruitment professionals, we conducted a rigorous assessment to identify the individual to lead the CIPS management team as CEO. The appointment of Ken James has now been approved by the board and I am delighted that Ken will take up this role from 1 January 2001.

Ken has a wide range of business and management skills. He has a successful track record as a CEO of medium-sized companies and was a director of the Institute of Directors for four years. He joined CIPS in 1997, initially as director of business development and more recently as deputy CEO. A Cambridge graduate, his earlier career was in marketing and brand management. Ken has been actively involved in the development and implementation of CIPS strategy and plans, and will continue working with council to develop our next plan, which you will hear more about as it develops through next year.

I would personally like to thank Charles for all that he has done for CIPS and I hope very much that he will find the time to continue to contribute to CIPS through involvement in some specific projects planned for next year.

I know you will want to join me in wishing Charles all the very best for the future.

Jeannie Bevan Chairman, CIPS board of management


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