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Hewitt Names Head of HRO

Observers have been waiting for Hewitt to appoint a new head of HR outsourcing since Bryan Doyle stepped down from the post in August.

April 20, 2007

In a long-awaited move, Hewitt Associates has named a new head of its HR outsourcing business.

Jay Rising, who most recently served as president of field operations at RightNow Technologies, will take on his new role as Hewitt’s president of HRO on May 14. Before working at the Bozeman, Montana-based customer relationship management provider, Rising, 50, spent 10 years at ADP. He was unavailable for comment.

Hewitt also announced other senior appointments. The Lincolnshire, Illinois-based company named Robert Thomas, another former ADP executive, to lead client implementations. Steve Fein, a former global managing director of strategy, marketing and product management for Mercer HR's benefits otusourcing business, has been named sales and product strategy leader, a new position.

Separately, Hewitt named Tracey Keogh, the former global head of HR for Bloomberg, as senior vice president of HR. Keogh replaces Steve King, who is retiring in June.

Observers have been waiting for Hewitt to name a new head of HRO since Bryan Doyle, the former president of HRO business, stepped down in August. Julie Gordon, now president of client and market leadership, had been acting as temporary head of HRO, but experts say that it was time for CEO Russ Fradin, who joined the company in September, to name someone permanently to the position.

“I was just thinking last week that Fradin has had time to learn about the organization and now he needed to do something authoritative,” says Neil McEwen, an analyst at PA Consulting. “It’s good that he is bringing in his own people.”

Fradin also used to work at ADP. The fresh perspective of outsiders may be just what Hewitt needs, McEwen says.

But some analysts were annoyed that Hewitt didn’t make the announcement days before when it was holding meetings at HR Week, which included an HRO event attended by all the providers and analysts.

“Why didn’t they announce going in and give people a chance to meet and talk to the new team?” IDC analyst Lisa Rowan says. “They need to be more open about what’s going on there.”

Hewitt spokeswoman Jennifer Frighetto says the company couldn’t make the announcement earlier because it was bound by disclosure rules.

“Once Jay resigned from his company, they had to go through their formal notification process before we could say anything,” she says.

Hopefully the new appointment will ease the minds of Hewitt employees, as many have been concerned about the future of the HRO business, Yankee Group analyst Jason Corsello says.

Going forward, Hewitt needs to put in place its own talent management and retention strategies to make sure these employees stick around for Hewitt’s comeback in HRO, he says.

“Hewitt isn’t leaving the market,” he says. “HRO is too important a business for it to give up.”

—Jessica Marquez