Exec to head human resources

Universal Studios announced Tuesday that it has promoted Kenneth L. Kahrs to executive vice president, human resources, a post that oversees about 15,000 employees.

Kahrs has been senior VP, human resources, since February 1996, when he joined the company after 14 years at Viacom Inc. Universal said its human resource functions have been expanded during his tenure to include a larger employee benefits and compensation group, a management and organizational development department, a centralized staffing program, upgraded information systems and improved work/life and diversity programs.

“Under Ken’s leadership we have made great strides toward building a culture that embraces change, supports growth and empowers employees to achieve individual and company goals,” said Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer. “A lot has been accomplished establishing the infrastructure and creating teams to sustain the next level of growth.”

Universal said Kahrs’ initiatives have included establishing human resource teams within each of Universal’s businesses, playing a key role in assimilating Polygram’s human resource activities, developing performance-based compensation and performance management programs, expanded parental-leave benefits, fitness programs and improved child-care programs.

The company added that Universal has been named for three successive years to Working Mother magazine’s list of 100 best companies for working mothers.

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