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Newell Rubbermaid adds global exec to leadership team


Newell Rubbermaid has named Paula S. Larson as EVP and chief human resources officer, effective Dec. 16. She succeeds James M. Sweet, who is retiring after nearly a decade of leading the company’s transformation efforts.

Larson has worked extensively across 80 countries and has lived in Asia, Europe and North America. Most recently, she was chief human resources officer for the Western Union Company, and is credited with revamping the company’s approach to people development as well as driving a performance-based culture to help accelerate growth.

Previously, as chief human resources officer at Invensys, a London-based global technology group, she helped engineer the transition from a holding company into an integrated operating company, which helped drive Invensys to a top-five performance among the London FTSE100 during the challenging recession year of 2009.

“The development of our people is at the foundation of our Growth Game Plan — and throughout her career, Paula has helped companies navigate change and empower employees to achieve sustainable growth,” said Michael Polk, Newell Rubbermaid’s president and CEO. “As we deploy our new operating model and build key capabilities to speed, Paula has the perfect combination of strategic and executive HR leadership to strengthen our talent base and support our global growth ambition.”

“Newell Rubbermaid is a company with strong brands, and I am excited to be joining at this key moment when the transition to a new operating model is allowing employees to work in a more empowering environment to enhance company value,” said Larson. “My two key goals are to help ensure we delight shareholders and create an ‘I want to work here’ culture for Newell’s diverse workforce.”

Before Invensys, Larson was VP of human resources for the Hydraulics division of Eaton Corp. She also spent more than a decade at GE, where she won several executive awards for HR leadership and was one of the company’s first Six Sigma black belts in human resources. Before that, Larson spent nearly five years at a global HR consultancy, Dugan Unlimited, where she lived and worked extensively overseas during assignments for global clients. She has a B.A. in psychology from Michigan State, an MBA with international business concentration from the University of New Haven and an M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology from New York University.

Polk said that Sweet, who worked with three Newell Rubbermaid chief executives, helped to shape Newell Rubbermaid into the company it is today.

“Jim’s commitment to every day great execution has been a model for our organization and is beginning to pay off in our results as we drive the growth game plan into action. I have been very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Jim and wish him only the best in his retirement,” added Polk.

Newell Rubbermaid’s portfolio of brands includes Sharpie, Paper Mate, Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Irwin, Lenox, Parker, Waterman, Rubbermaid, Levolor, Calphalon, Goody, Graco, Aprica and Dymo.

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