Following the departure of longtime CEO Susan Meisinger, the Society for Human Resource Management has named Laurence "Lon" O´Neil as its new president and CEO, effective Oct. 1.

SHRM took six months to find O'Neil after Meisinger announced her resignation in January. It looks like the long search was worth it, as the association seems to have hit the mother lode for what it will need from a leader in the current HR/benefits atmosphere.

First, O'Neil most recent stint was five years as senior vice president and CHRO at Kaiser Permanente. As the rising cost of benefits -- most acutely, health benefits -- remains the Achilles heel of even the best and brightest in the HR/benefits profession, O'Neil's experience and insider knowledge of the inner workings at a multibillion-dollar health care organization can only aid and inspire practitioners.

Second, O'Neil also took a turn in the banking world as CHRO for global corporate and investment banking at Bank of America and oversaw HR in Asia. As the struggling economy and expanding globalization both take greater prominence in HR/benefits pros' everyday work, O'Neil should be a valuable leader.

Although EBN competes with SHRM's HR magazine for readers and ad dollars, I'm happy to say among the organization's 245,000 members are loyal EBN readers. I congratulate them on finding a new leader I believe is well positioned to lead them in facing the unique challenges of today's HR/benefits world.

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