Only the good die young…

Or so they say and never has it felt more true than in relation to the very sad passing of Jackie Orme, ex CEO of the CIPD yesterday. I knew Jackie professionally for 9 years, meeting her for the first time when I joined Courtenay HR. Amongst the many senior HR players Jackie stood out – she was smart, commercially savvy and above all an incredibly nice person. Many of todays senior HR folk could learn a thing or two about humility from the example that Jackie set.

I was out at an event last night talking about Talent Management and I made the observation that a lot of organisations simply don’t have a clear handle on what good looks like for them – either in terms of hiring in new blood or making the most of the talent they already have. Jackie was rare in that she knew exactly what she was looking for in building her team. This made working with her incredibly rewarding. She was also open minded – she looked beyond the CV and instead focussed on potential – another thing that many HR folk could learn to do better.  Consequently I can say, because I know, that the Pepsi HR team during that period contained some of the best HR practitioners in the market, probably equalled only by AMEX at the time.

So it was great to catch up with Jackie almost exactly two years ago today and talk about her challenges at the CIPD, which ultimately led to me working directly with her and the rest of the team there over the last 15 months or so. It has been challenging but great fun and it’s a real shame that she won’t be around to see  the changes she championed so passionately come to life.

There isn’t much more to say really. I’m going to take a few minutes of quiet personal time today to reflect on her legacy and send positive and loving thoughts to the wonderful family she leaves behind. I hope you will join me.

We will miss you Jackie. God bless.


  1. Lovely tribute Gareth and fitting from someone who knew Jackie so well. I feel a huge sense of loss, and a degree of sadness not felt for some time. Thank you for expressing this so elegantly – and elegant is how I’ll remember Jackie. Elegant in her ways at all times.


  2. I’ve taken the dog for a long walk in the fields behind where I live. So peaceful. Thanks for putting into words what many of us feel. Perry and Doug, too.


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