POSITION: MTN Group Chief HR and Corporate Affairs Officer
Paul Norman serves as Group Chief Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Officer at MTN Group, a mobile operator working in emerging markets that has a presence in 22 countries, primarily in Africa and the Middle East. MTN has 232 million subscribers, 23,000 employees and revenues of approximately $15 billion. In his current role, Paul oversees people strategy, reputation management, media and stakeholder management and sustainability. He is also a member of the Group Executive Committee and an active steering committee member of key projects, such as moving the company from a mobile operator to a digital services company; centralizing the back-office functions of HR, finance and supply chain; and designing a future-fit company through new operating and business-model initiatives.
From 2003 to 2011, during a time of high growth at MTN, Paul served as Group Human Resources Executive. In this role, he focused HR on ensuring the company could absorb growth tensions by focusing on culture, competencies, talent attraction, creation of an in-house corporate university and the formation of a cohesive group through its people practices. Prior to that, he served as the first HR executive at MTN South Africa, while the company was still a startup. Within two years, the company was named Best Employer of Choice in the country.
Paul began his career in 1991 as a Psychology Unit consultant at Portnet, a company that managed all South African ports. In this role, he used various management assessment centers and psychological assessments to inform specific management placements and development programs. From 1993 to 1995, he served as Human Resources Manager at Transnet, where he managed the human resources function of the Transnet Group’s telecommunications arm. In 1995, Paul became Senior Manager of Development at Transnet, where he managed training and development in all of the company’s sectors, including rail, ports, air and roads. Through his efforts, the company reduced the budget from more than 300 million rand to approximately 50 million rand, with great impact on the number of employees being trained.
Under his leadership, MTN Group won the International Gold Accreditation Award for excellent people management, and was rated among the Top Sustainable Global Companies by Newsweek. He has been recognized with several awards for his achievements, including HR Practitioner of the Year from the Institute of People Management South Africa in 2003 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the South African Board for People Practices in 2012. He is also one of the founding members of South Africa Day, a collaborative initiative that raises funds to support deserving students.
Paul has served on several of MTN’s subsidiary boards in recent years, including a stint as Chairman of Remco for a Chartered Accountants Medical Aid Fund in South Africa. He remains on the boards of MTN Nigeria, MTN South Africa and MTN Cote d’Ivoire, where he serves as Chairman of Remco. His entrepreneurial endeavors include investing in a BMW dealership franchise that he and a partner have turned around since becoming involved in the business in 2009; in South African Clean Energy Services, a startup that provides complete energy solutions to clients; and in a restaurant called Bistro Michael.
Paul holds a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, as well as an Executive MBA from the Institute for Development Management in Switzerland. He is a retired psychologist and has also participated in the Executive Development Program at the Wits Business School in Johannesburg, South Africa. He currently resides in Sandton, Gauteng, in the Johannesburg area of South Africa.