Catherine Taylor of Mercedes-Benz UK has been named HR director of the year by HR Magazine.
She was highlighted as having transformed human resources at the national sales company.
She joined Mercedes-Benz UK in 2008 just as the automotive market collapsed and car sales went into free fall. As part of her baptism by fire, one of the first challenges was to find a way of reducing salary costs while minimising redundancies.
Since then, Taylor has introduced leadership development at all levels, new recruitment and induction processes, new employee benefits, a new academy, new career paths, employee engagement programmes, improved communication and new employee awards schemes - all of which are interconnected, with a clear strategy inextricably linked to the business plan.
Chief financial officer Andy Williamson said: "Taylor has done a tremendous job in the past 12 months, bringing the HR function closer to the business, driving cultural change and creating first-class training and development programmes.
"Through her efforts, the management and staff at MBUK are seeing the benefit of a collaborative relationship with the HR function, the likes of which we have not previously been used to."