Hewitt, one of the top global providers of HRO services, today announced a major shakeup in leadership. CEO Dale L. Gifford, which has led the company since 1992, said he will retire at the end of the year. In addition, the Lincolnshire, IL-based company said Julie S. Gordon, Hewitt’s chief business excellence officer and a member of its board of directors since 2000, has replaced Bryan J. Doyle as the head of its HRO business as acting president.
The announcement came as a surprise since Hewitt had scored more large enterprise HRO contracts last year than any other competitor. With 13 major signings last year, Doyle appeared to have steered its HRO business in the right direction following the 2004 merger with Exult. However, despite the recent deals, Hewitt has seen its share price fall markedly since reaching a 52-week high in April; earnings during that period have also moved sideways rather than showing a significant upward swing.
Hewitt officials said the management transition doesn’t change its focus on the HR business process outsourcing market. In fact, the company said that it has been preparing Gordon to assume her new position.
“HR BPO will be an important growth engine for Hewitt, and we are strongly committed to it for the long term. Julie’s leadership, strategic and analytic skills, her experience on our board, and her recent intensive work with our HR BPO management team make her the clear choice to provide strong leadership to the HR outsourcing business at this important time,” said Gifford.
The company did not disclose why it chose to replace Doyle at this time and declined to specify reasons for his departure. Hewitt would only say that he left to pursue other opportunities. A spokeswoman added that Gordon was named acting president of the HRO business because Gifford wanted to allow the incoming CEO-to be named-to assemble his or her own management team.
Gordon, who has been with the company for more than 20 years and a board member since 2000, spent most of her time at Hewitt in its retirement and financial management business. But as a board member in the past six years, she has become familiar with the HRO market as well. Recently, in her role as chief business excellence officer, Gordon focused on the company’s finance and operations.