gain an appreciation of just how vital
people and culture are to a company’s
success,” he says. “You learn how to
work well with line and staff functions,
operations teams and virtually every
other group within the organization to
get things done.”
These leadership experiences also
helped D’Ambrose hone the business-
oriented approach that he would
bring to his role as an HR executive.
Tomorrow’s HR leaders will “need, first
and foremost, to be strong business
leaders,” he says.
“They need to know their
organizations inside and out, and to
see themselves as drivers of crafting a
successful strategy,” says D’Ambrose.
“Then, they need to understand how
to create high-performing teams, and
a high-performance culture, to execute
the strategy and to help the company
D’Ambrose’s business-first mind-
set has certainly helped earn him
recognition as a CHRO. In November,
BY MARK McGRAW Mike D’Ambrose laughs just a bit when asked what competencies the HR leader of tomorrow will need to be successful. D’Ambrose, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Archer
Daniels Midland Co., chuckles, partly
because predicting the future is an
inherently tricky proposition and partly
because of the irony of his response.
“One thing that’s helped me
succeed in HR is that I wasn’t always
an HR person,” says D’Ambrose.
Indeed, before joining Chicago-based Archer Daniels Midland in 2006,
D’Ambrose held top HR positions at
Members of the National Academy of Human
Resources’ Class of 2016 discuss the attributes HR
executives will need to succeed in the future.
organizations such as First Data and
Citibank. But, his resume also includes
a tenure as CEO of Shadow Broadcast
Services, and a stint as chief operating
officer at Westwood One.
It was in the latter two leadership
positions that he recognized the role of
the CHRO as “an expert at recognizing
each individual [employee’s] unique
talents, and how to leverage these
talents to help the organization
succeed,” says D’Ambrose.
Being the head of a company
“gave me the broader perspective and
experience needed to understand how
the HR function can most effectively
recognize competing demands within
an organization and help resolve them.
“When you approach HR from the
vantage point of the top executive, you
NAHR Fellows Look Forward
The 2016 Fellows of the National Academy of HR, from left: Benito Cachinero-Sánchez, Mark Huselid, Mirian Graddick-Weir (Distinguished
Fellow), Susan Schmitt, Boris Groysberg and Michael D’Ambrose.