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Macpherson Kelley names new chief people officer

Emerging BigLaw firm Macpherson Kelley has promoted its national HR manager to the role of chief people officer.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 16 August 2023 Big Law
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Olivia Holmes (pictured) has been elevated to the executive leadership position of chief people officer.

She has, the firm said in a statement, been “instrumental” in implementing progressive changes to the firm’s policy and priorities, including driving the expansion of Macpherson Kelley’s parental leave policy in 2022 and launching the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) working groups.

Ms Holmes has been with the firm since 2014, starting as an HR business partner for Victoria, then moving into the Victorian HR manager and national HR manager role.


The news follows the firm’s promotion of 13 lawyers to more senior roles in early July, its addition of a principal and special counsel in mid-April, and its appointment of two special counsel in late March.

Speaking about the new role, firm chief operating officer David Ward said that Ms Holmes’ contributions will be “pivotal as the firm experiences a period of increased recognition and growth”.

Ms Holmes added that she had identified a list of priorities for her new role, which she said is born out of a desire to create a workplace empowered by belonging, connection and outstanding service to clients and colleagues.

“I’d like to further establish Macpherson Kelley as a great place to work and an ‘employer of choice’ through employee voice and action,” she proclaimed.

“We are about to start work on defining a genuine and compelling employee value proposition and employer brand. In many ways, I see this as the final piece of the puzzle – bringing together all the aligned initiatives we have implemented in recent times. I am excited to define this for our people and proudly share what makes Macpherson Kelley a great place to work with the market.”

Ms Holmes will aim to bring more formality to existing frameworks, utilising innovative tools that will support the aspirations and skills of the firm’s lawyers and staff.

“Developing our workforce by building technical, non-technical and leadership capability will improve our ability to exceed expectations and targets and create career paths, all while keeping up with the changing needs of our business and clients,” she said.

“This can take on many forms, but for me, it comes back to the question of – is this the best way we can be working? Because I want Macpherson Kelley to be bold in its adaptation of promoting a progressive workplace – whether it be through new offices, flexible hybrid work or the utilisation of AI technology.”

“With a renewed purpose and vision in mind, I’m excited to see how I can apply that ethos to people and culture,” Ms Holmes concluded.