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.