Passing the reins

A Q&A with Les Dakens, former CHRO at Maple Leaf Foods
By Sarah Dobson and Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/28/2014

Les Dakens has had a prolific career in human resources. He was the North American HR director at Cadbury Schweppes in the 1980s, North American vice-president of HR at Heinz in the 1990s and topped it off by being CHRO at CN Rail from 2001 to 2008, when he retired.

Through the years, Dakens came to know the succession process well, which was particularly helpful when he was “pulled” out of retirement in 2011 to become CHRO at Maple Leaf Foods — and to help find a suitable successor.

Canadian HR Reporter (CHRR) sat down with Dakens to find out more about the intricacies of succession planning, and how to do it right.