Bill Kutik Retiring After 2013 HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas

It’s been an open secret for many months, but Bill Kutik, the co-chairman and driving force behind the annual HR Technology Conference & Expo, has announced that he will be retiring after the 2013 event next October in Las Vegas.

The HR Tech conference, one of the largest and most popular annual HR events, has grown from a small annual gathering to probably the single largest conference focused on HR technology and software in the world — due largely to the larger-than-life presence and over-the-top marketing skills of Kutik himself.

Steve Boese will replace Kutik as HR Tech co-chair

“Bill has had a profound impact on our conference, and I am very grateful for the expertise, excellent foresight and responsible planning he has provided throughout the years,” said Kenneth Kahn, President, LRP Publications, the company that publishes Human Resource Executive magazine and puts on the HR technology conference. “It’s no coincidence that his involvement corresponds with the conference’s growth and maturation into the premier HR technology event in the world.”

Steve Boese, currently Director of Talent Management Strategy at Oracle Corporation and a well-known HR blogger and opinion leader, will succeed Kutik.

Steve Boese

The 2013 HR Technology Conference will be held at the Mandalay Bay conference center on October 7-9 in Las Vegas. The conference will include a “Thank You to Bill Kutik” celebration to honor Kutik’s many contributions to the success of the HR Tech conference and recognize his impact on the industry.

After the event, Kutik will become Chair Emeritus while continuing to write his monthly HR technology column for Human Resource Executive, host his bi-weekly The Bill Kutik Radio Show, and moderate the conference’s LinkedIn group.

The fact that Steve Boese will be taking over for Bill Kutik as co-chair of the HR Tech conference does not come as a surprise. It has been an open secret for many months that Kutik was going to be stepping down, and that Boese was the leading candidate to replace him.

Although Boese is not as openly gregarious and over-the-top as Kutik, he is very well known and respected within the HR technology community. As someone who tracks HR events closely, it’s hard for me to think of anyone better than Boese to step into Kutik’s shoes.

Why is the HR Tech conference so important?

Why is the HR Technology conference so important? Here’s what  I wrote after the 2012 event in Las Vegas:

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It’s not that this conference has suddenly become something good, because it has always been that. What has changed, however, is that HR Technology has evolved from good into one of the very top HR-related “must attend” events that I would recommend to anyone who wants to quickly get plugged into the human resources/talent management arena.

Or to put it another way, there are two big conferences you need to go to each year if you REALLY want to understand what is happening in HR — the SHRM national conference in early summer, and the HR Tech conference in early fall. There are other worthwhile events, of course, but these are the two that you plan everything else around because you can’t afford not to be at them.

In other words, the HR Technology conference actually exceeds Bill Kutik’s over-the-top and unrelenting braggadocio about it, and that is a tough standard to meet, indeed.”

Kutik: “I don’t want to work that hard anymore”

Here’s what Bill Kutik told TLNT about his departure from the HR Technology conference:

For 15 years I worked incredibly hard to make the HR Technology Conference better every single year. Participants tell me I succeeded. Now it needs younger blood and new ideas to continue up that same hockey stick trajectory.

I don’t expect my successor Steve Boese to step into my shoes; I expect him to create his own. And given his perfect set of work experiences, I know he will. In three to five years, people will stop thinking of it as “Bill Kutik’s show.”

I have a simple reason for leaving: I don’t want to work that hard anymore. The calls and emails for 2013 literally started the day after the 2012 conference closed. I am already writing and approving marketing material in December for our October conference in Vegas. I want to go to Patagonia, Antarctica and maybe Everest Base Camp.

After 23 years, I am certainly not leaving the HR technology industry. I will continue running panels (95 now since 1995, hoping to make 100) at other events, writing my monthly column, hosting The Bill Kutik Radio Show, and my proudest recent achievement: creating and moderating the conference group on LinkedIn.”

Boese will work with Kutik on 2013 conference

Steve Boese brings more than 20 years of experience in HR technology to his new role with the HR Technology conference. He currently is working on Fusion HCM, Oracle’s next generation of Human Capital Management solutions. He’s also a popular, award-winning HR blogger on both Fistful of Talent and  Steve Boese’s HR Technology blog. In addition, he hosts the HR Happy Hour, a weekly online radio program, and is an instructor at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he teaches a graduate level course on HR technology.

“Steve lives HR technology: with his daily blog, weekly radio show, co-creating five HRevolution conferences and his soon-to-be-former job with Oracle HCM,” said Kutik. “More importantly, he’s even done the work at the foundation of the conference: operating HR systems for organizations and teaching it as a college course. His expertise makes him the perfect successor.”

According to a news release from LRP, Kutik will mentor Boese over the next year as he transitions into his new role. Kutik, Boese and Co-Chairman David Shadovitz, co-publisher of Human Resource Executive, will develop and execute the HR Technology Conference program in 2013 with Boese and Shadovitz planning HR Tech 2014 together.

To further ensure the continued quality of the conference program, Boese will become a full-time employee of LRP Conferences in January 2013.

John Hollon is managing editor of Fuel50, an AI Opportunity Marketplace solution that delivers internal talent mobility and workforce reskilling. He's also the former founding editor of TLNT and a frequent contributor to ERE and the Fistful of Talent blog.