As the Role of CHRO Evolves to “Moral Compass” of Companies, Guild Hires Patagonia Veteran Dean Carter as New Chief People Officer

Carter to also serve as advisor to F500 CHROs as they work to meet employee demand for greater opportunity and career mobility

Denver, CO, Dec. 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Guild, the leader in opportunity creation for America’s workforce, today announced Dean Carter, former Head of People and Culture at Patagonia, as Guild’s new Chief People Officer. Carter’s hire comes at a time when the role of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) is undergoing a significant transformation after being asked to deliver more in the last three years than any other role in corporate America.  

Known historically as the executive member who had to fight for a seat at the table, CHROs were thrown into the spotlight when COVID-19 hit. The CHRO was asked to transform during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recovery to fill new roles for the company as Chief Crisis Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Chief Communications Officer, and so much more. In decades prior when 83% of assets on the balance sheet were “tangible assets” the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) was seen as second in command to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Today, CHROs oversee the vast majority of companies’ assets, with companies now recording 90% of their assets as “intangible assets”– the IP, technology, and brand developed by the human capital in the company, and the human capital itself. This major shift, coupled with the changing social contract between workers and their employers, have led CHROs to transform as the second in command to the CEO, and also as the moral compass of the company.

Carter has been a change agent for the last three decades, most recently at Patagonia where he served as Head of People and Culture for the last seven years, including expanded remits running their finance and legal departments. At Patagonia, Carter earned a reputation for transforming the HR function to foster a regenerative employee experience and ultimately impact a new future of work where the focus is on how employers put more into the lives of their people than what they extract. Under Carter’s leadership, Patagonia piloted a new approach to encourage better work-life balance for employees by having a four day work week every other week, and he was a tireless champion for working parents. At Patagonia, he amplified a purpose-driven culture for the company, while serving as a strategic partner to the Founders, Yvon and Malinda Chouinard, and CEO. Carter honed his craft leading similar HR transformations at companies like Sears Holdings and Fossil Group, and joins Guild with a passion for expanding the impact of Talent, Culture, and Employee Experience teams within an organization. 

“As we reflect on the heroic marathon that our HR leaders have run over the last three years, and the opportunities ahead to transform corporate human capital strategies, one leader’s vision has stood out – Dean Carter,” said Rachel Romer, Guild CEO and Co-Founder. “We are thrilled to find such a phenomenal and passionate leader in Dean who shares similar values around the future of work, the HR function, and the employee experience overall.” 

In his role as Chief People Officer at Guild, Dean will advance Guild’s trademark culture of opportunity for Guild’s own employees, testing new and innovative human capital and employee experience strategies to better align shared success between the company and its workforce. Moreover, Carter’s role will also include serving as an advisor to CHROs at Guild’s employer partners as they redesign their human capital strategies and build programs to deliver on the wider scope of the modern HR organization and the growing employee demand for opportunity and career mobility. 

Carter has been public about his view that the CHRO role needs a redesign in the post-COVID era, and will share his vision about what the future holds for CHROs. He will also lead a consortium of CHROs from innovative F500 companies, partner with Guild’s learning providers to innovate the curriculum for emerging and established HR leaders, and share insights on a regular cadence with other people leaders through webinars, roundtable discussions, and more. 

“Guild has a deep understanding of the expanding role of CHROs and their potential to make a change in their organizations and in the lives of their employees,” said Dean Carter, Guild’s Chief People Officer. “As a B Corp, Guild has demonstrated an ability to do well by doing good for its members and also its employees – most notably through its onsite early childhood education center, The Beehive. I’m honored to join the company’s critical mission and play a role in transforming the employee experience for Guilders internally, and for the American workforce that Guild serves, unlocking opportunity for all of our members.”

Carter delivered the keynote address at Guild’s Opportunity Summit in October – a gathering of leaders from forward-thinking employers, academic institutions, and the policy ecosystem – where he discussed how even in extraordinarily different companies and cultures – you can leverage systemic, unconventional, and regenerative practices to drive a more sustainable and thriving future for the company and employees. You can view his full keynote address here.

Dr. KimArie Yowell, Chief Diversity Officer & Chief Learning Officer at Rocket Companies, who was also a speaker at Guild’s Opportunity Summit, shared the following statement on Carter’s new role: "Dean's passion for creating inclusive, people-first cultures is indisputable. He's committed his career to building world-class organizations from the inside out and his new role at Guild will only augment his work and leadership. As a fellow people leader dedicated to cultivating inclusive teams, I'm inspired to work alongside Dean to help create equitable opportunities within America's workforce."

Ken Chenault, board member, Guild, chairman and managing director, General Catalyst, and former chairman and CEO, American Express, said: “To build an enduring company, leaders must build trust with their employees, which starts by investing in the full employee experience. Dean will be a strong asset to Guild and to the workforces it serves, as it continues to support employers in navigating the evolving labor market, and creating cultures of opportunity for employees.” 

Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst, stated: “Dean Carter deeply understands the ‘human’ element of human resources, and also understands mission-driven companies. I believe Dean can help all CHROs understand the tremendous importance of Guild and career growth in the global economy.”

Kevin Oakes, CEO, Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), said: “A purpose-driven culture is critical to driving engagement and high performance among employees. Dean’s experience and passion for fostering workplace environments steered by a shared mission and ethos will be a great addition to Guild and its work to help F500 employers elevate their human capital strategies.”

About Guild

Guild unlocks the talent and economic potential of America’s workforce for employees and their companies. Guild partners with the nation’s largest employers—including Walmart, Chipotle, Discover, Hilton, Macy’s, Target, and The Walt Disney Company—to create cultures of opportunity that help them attract and retain top talent, while building the workforce of the future from within. By using Guild’s proprietary Career Opportunity Platform to connect workers to a marketplace of education and learning programs that work in the real-world, employees at those companies can gain the skills, knowledge, and guidance they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their families—all without paying for tuition or career services on their own. For more information, visit


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