Thomas D. Cairns

Thomas D. Cairns

Executive Profile

Senior Human Resource Executive with demonstrated success leading human resource organizations supporting senior business executives in a high-performance culture. Acknowledged for creating and staffing complex organizations that consistently deliver business results. Successful leader with solid business acumen. Extensive P&L experience. Established track record with emphasis on strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, talent management, succession planning, compensation planning and reward systems, union avoidance and labor relations.

Biography

Thomas D. Cairns was appointed by President Bush as the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in May 2008. In this capacity, Mr. Cairns directs all aspects of human resources management at DHS to ensure that the Department hires, retains and develops the leaders and workforce needed to achieve its critical mission. He oversees DHS’ human capital policy, strategic planning, learning and development, recruitment, performance management, workforce engagement, compensation, benefits, labor relations and employee relations.Prior to joining DHS, Mr. Cairns served as a Principal with the Cairns Blaner Group, LLC, where he provided expert consulting services to help companies develop and deliver people strategies, systems and solutions.

As the Senior Vice President for Human Resources at NBC Universal, Mr. Cairns was responsible for all human resource and labor relations practices, policies and programs for NBC Universal’s employees in Information Management, Technology, Television and Studio Operations. He led a 22-member HR, Labor Relations and Medical Center department serving 4,000 domestic and international employees. Among many other accomplishments, he successfully supported a reorganization that combined information technology and studio operations with a budget of $900M and a total staff of 4,000 union and non-union employees.

Prior to joining NBC Universal, Mr. Cairns was the Senior Vice President for Human Resources for NBC Entertainment, where he oversaw all human resource and labor relations practices, policies and programs for NBC’s Entertainment Division, NBC Studios, NBC Agency and Domestic Syndication Sales. During his tenure, he championed NBC’s diversity initiatives and implemented metrics, programs and practices that significantly improved the diversity of NBC’s workforce.

Mr. Cairns also served as the Vice President of Employee Relations for the NBC Television Station Division, where he developed and implemented all human resource practices, policies and programs for NBC’s thirteen owned and operated television stations nationwide. Over a four year period, he increased internal promotions of key talent from 30 percent to 80 percent through the successful implementation of organizational effectiveness, development and succession planning programs. Mr. Cairns also held the position of Director of Employee Relations for several NBC television stations in several major media markets, including stations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Miami, Florida.

Mr. Cairns received both a doctorate in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Nova Southeastern University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Relations from Rider University. He served honorably in the United States Air Force and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, the American Society of Training and Development and is on the Editorial Advisory Board for Employment Relations Today.

Work History

Work History
2008 - Present

Chief Human Capital Officer

Responsible for all human resource management and training for the Department of Homeland Security. Lead a 200-member team with an annual operating budget of $48M and a functional team of 1,250 members serving over 216,000 employees located throughout the Department.  Serve as a principal adviser to the Under Secretary for Management and the Deputy Homeland Security on human capital and related programs.

  • Restructured the Human Capital organization to improve customer service. 
  • Developed goals and measures to reduce a the hiring backlog of over 500 positions for Headquarters.  positions Set a goal of 500 hires by December 31.  Achieved 622 as of November 30, 2008.

Initiated changes to the performance management system for over 500 senior executives to correlate performance ratings to awards. 

  • Achieved a 7% reduction in ratings and increased the average bonus award by an additional 3% and remained within overall budget allocation.
  • Brief House and Senate Homeland Security Committees on Human Capital issues.
  • Developed and Published a Strategic Human Capital Plan for FY09-13.
2007 - 2008

Principal

Cairns Blaner Group, LLC

The Cairns Blaner Group, LLC is a firm focused on delivering strategies, systems and solutions in the areas of organization design and staffing; executive selection, assessment and development; executive performance and coaching. We focus our efforts at all levels within an organization. Our solutions are comprehensive and practical.

2004 - 2006

Senior Vice President - Human Resources

Media Works - Media Technology and Operations

Responsible for all human resource and labor relations practices, policies and programs for NBC Universal's employees in Information Management, Technology, Television and Studio Operations.  Lead a 22-member HR, Labor Relations and Medical Center department serving 4,000 domestic and international employees.

  • Successfully supported the leadership team in a reorganization that combined information technology and studio operations with a budget of $900M and a total staff of 4,000 union and non-union employees.
  • Achieved $300K in annual cost savings by developing and implementing a labor relations strategy for local and national union negotiations covering 2,000 employees in technical and facility operations.
  • Assisted in designing and staffing a new digital technology organization, staffing 5 critical leadership positions. 
  • Initiated a strategy to identify and hire a diverse pipeline of talent.  Achieved 86% diverse hires in the new management leadership programs.
  • Conducted annual employee opinion surveys and feedback sessions, achieving 87% employee participation and improving employee communication and satisfaction.
2000 - 2004

Senior Vice President - Human Resources

Responsible for all human resource and labor relations practices, policies and programs for NBC's Entertainment Division, NBC Studios, NBC Agency and Domestic Syndication Sales.  Led a 15-member HR, Labor Relations, Employment Law and Medical Center department serving 1,000 employees.

  • Led human resources, organization design and communication integration efforts of the NBC Television and Cable Organization and Universal Studio's Television and Cable over a 14 month period with a $100M cost savings. 
  • Championed NBC's diversity initiatives, implemented metrics, programs and practices that improved NBC's diversity efforts over a 3 year period. 
1996 - 2000

Vice President - Employee Relations

NBC Television Station Division

Responsible for the development and implementation of all human resource practices, policies and programs for NBC's thirteen owned and operated television stations nationwide serving 2,500 employees.  Provided HR leadership for the acquisition and integration of 6 television stations covering 1,000 employees.  Led a 14-member HR team.

  • Led organization effectiveness, development and succession planning programs increasing internal promotions of key talent from 30% to 80% in a four year period. 

Professional Affilitations

Education

Education

Bachelor of Science

Master of Science

Doctorate

Recommendations

"Tom is a top-notch executive who works very well with people and with numbers. He has complete grasp of all the sub fields within HR, especially those that involve growing and developing people. The bottom line is that he knows what the company thinks is important and he helps make the company successful through his skills at implementation of policies/procedures and his ability to innovate." - July 28, 2007

Robert Preziosi, Professor, Nova Southeastern Universitywas a consultant or contractor to Thomas D. at NBC Universal

"Tom Cairns was one of the most efficient, effective, and likable people I have ever had the good fortune to meet at the workplace. Not only did he have a tremendous reputation within the NBC, but upon meeting him it becomes apparent the reputation was well-earned. As a human resources professional, he was an invaluable asset to the network, as he managed to make myself and my co-workers feel that he was personally invested not only in our success at the company, but in our satisfaction as employees. I heartily recommend Tom to any potential employer, as I believe any workplace would be enriched by his presence. Paige Adamczyk, esq." - April 7, 2008Paige Adamczyk, Programming, NBCworked with Thomas D. at NBC Entertainment

"Tom is a great person with terrific people skills. He is able to motivate and provide energy, guidance and most of all, focus to critical activities. As our divisional HR leader, Tom always made himself available to talk and work through challenging personal, as well as business issues." - January 8, 2008

Richard W. Westcott, Manager News Operations, NBC - WRCworked directly with Thomas D. at NBC Television Station Division