In the ever-evolving landscape of HR, recognizing outstanding performance is crucial. With our Strategic HR Champion award we aim to recognize continuous, day-to-day efforts that drive our industry forward. Whether it’s the boldness to try new things, the commitment to being data-driven, or strategic focus, every effort counts. Let’s give this month’s winners a huge round of applause and let their achievement inspire you!

Ibolya Gothárdi, Group Chief People Officer, 4iG Group

Congratulate Ibolya Gothárdi on her forward-thinking approach to building an AI-ready HR function at 4iG Group, establishing a data-driven dialogue between HR and Business, achieving impressive KPI improvements, and emphasizing the critical role of AI in modern HR practices.

With over two decades of HR experience across diverse sectors like FMCG, consulting, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications, Ibolya has demonstrated unparalleled strategic vision and execution in human resources. There are many achievements that would qualify her for being a Strategic HR Champion; let us focus now on her tenure as Group HR Director at 4iG, especially in pioneering data-driven HR practices that have significantly enhanced organizational capabilities and performance.

Under her leadership, 4iG’s HR has accelerated its transformation to become an AI-ready organization distinguished by its commitment to leveraging data for strategic decision-making and operational excellence. Starting from scratch, Ibolya introduced the culture of measurement and data in HR, sped up digitalization efforts, and facilitated a culture where data-driven dialogue between business and HR is the norm. This initiative included, among other things, the launch of monthly “Deep Dive” sessions with company leadership, fostering a collaborative environment where data insights lead to informed decisions and proactive management strategies.

Perhaps most impressive is her contribution to the company’s exponential growth, navigating 4iG through mergers from 600 to 8,200 employees. Under her guidance, the company achieved an 80% offer acceptance rate and a hiring timeline of 2/3 of industry standards, alongside significant strides in diversifying leadership roles, particularly for women.

Ibolya’s forward-thinking approach to building an AI-ready HR function sets a new standard for the field, emphasizing AI’s critical role in modern HR practices. Her commitment to knowledge sharing and collaboration, especially in demystifying AI’s role in HR, exemplifies her leadership and vision. Her work sets a high standard for strategic HR practices and inspires others to embrace the transformative power of data and AI in human resources.

March Nominee

January Nominee

Ádám Mézes, People & Culture Manager, O-I

We are proud to honor Adam Mezes, the People and Culture Manager of O-I, a leading glass manufacturer, with the Strategic HR Champion Award.

Building on the foundations laid by his predecessor since mid-2017, Adam has played a crucial role in the evolution and enhancement of HR analytics and various analyses at O-I. Under Adam’s guidance, a successful long-term HR strategy has been developed and implemented, supported by robust KPI-s. This strategy exemplifies his commitment to aligning HR practices with the organization’s broader goals, ensuring that every step taken is a stride towards overall success.

Adam’s leadership has been pivotal in integrating the reward and incentive system with employee development. This integration ensures that the objectives outlined in the organization’s strategy are effectively supported by HR management. Through regular performance appraisals and succession planning, O-I has established a dynamic framework for continuous employee development. Their approach to competency assessment and feedback has led to the design of targeted training programs, along with the implementation of specific staff development initiatives like coaching and mentoring.

Adam’s use of HR benchmarks, including salary benchmarking, grade mapping, and job mapping, has been a cornerstone in designing O-I’s motivation and remuneration systems. In recognition of these achievements, Adam Mezes sets a high standard in strategic, data-driven HR leadership, making a significant impact on both the people and the culture at O-I.

Akos Jagudits, HR Director Astotec Automotive

Congratulate Akos Jagudits for his innovative approach in significantly reducing employee turnover at Astotec Automotive.

Akos Jagudits, as the HR Director of Astotec Automotive, has showcased exceptional leadership and strategic acumen. His collaborative project with the Lean team led to an impressive 8 percentage point reduction in annual employee turnover. This initiative highlights the successful integration of Lean methodologies into HR practices, a move that has redefined traditional HR approaches.

His efforts in breaking down departmental silos have fostered a culture of significant collaboration and effective problem-solving. By focusing on the root causes of employee turnover through a data-driven lens, Akos has not only enhanced employee retention strategies but also set a new benchmark in HR analytics.

Moreover, Akos’s ability to blend Lean thinking with HR strategies exemplifies a forward-thinking approach that aligns HR practices with broader business objectives. This innovative strategy has not only elevated the role of HR within Astotec Automotive but also contributed to the overall success and growth of the organization.

December Nominee

November Nominee

Gyöngyvér Martin, HR Director Nagel Hungary

Congratulate  Gyöngyvér for her outstanding work in transforming the HR landscape at Nagel Hungary.

Congratulate Gyöngyvér for her remarkable work in transforming the HR landscape at Nagel Hungária. Gyöngyvér has demonstrated exceptional leadership by skillfully advancing and aligning the existing HR scorecard framework with Nagel Hungária’s business strategy. Under her guidance, the HR team started to embrace a journey in the data-driven environment, with a significant emphasis on continuous learning and skill enhancement. Furthermore, her ability to lead the HR team beyond conventional roles, particularly in forging a productive collaboration with the Finance department, is commendable. This cross-functional strategy not only elevates the role of HR within the organization but also ensures its alignment with broader business objectives, creating a cohesive and unified approach to organizational success.

Sufaija Mohamed Ali, HR Manager

Congratulate  Sufaija for her exceptional initiative in embracing people analytics. Sufaija’s journey into this realm, particularly her training in Power BI, marks a significant step in integrating data-driven insights into HR practices.

Sufaija skillfully utilizes her Power BI training to develop HR dashboards, drawing inspiration from sales dashboard analyses. This innovative approach not only showcases her adaptability but also her commitment to enhancing HR functions through advanced analytics.

November Nominee

November Nominee

Krstinja Scepanovic, HR Director, OTP Serbia:

Congratulate  Krstinja for her outstanding work in transforming the HR landscape at OTP Serbia!

Krstinja stands out for continuous excellence, and contribution to the development of HR function in the banking industry. Innovative HR Strategies: Krstinja has consistently demonstrated a commitment to innovation in HR. She has implemented novel approaches to talent acquisition, employee engagement, and performance management, contributing to overall success and growth of OTP bank in Serbia.

If you know someone who embodies a future-proof culture in HR by being curious, brave enough to step out of the “how we are used to doing it,” and taking actions to break down silos, become more data-driven and strategic, let us know! Let’s recognize and give them a round of applause, and set their achievements, whether small or big, as an example for the entire community. Nominations are open for the Strategic HR Champion Award, so don’t miss your chance to nominate here: