Kumba Iron Ore’s chief executive officer, Norman Mbazima, received the IABC Africa Excel Award.

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) award was presented to Mbazima at a gala awards dinner, for his open, collaborative and supportive approach that has characterised his years of leadership within the broader Anglo American group, as well as his unwavering faith in the ability of good communications to guide, shape and change the face of business.

The IABC Africa Excel Award is the highest individual distinction in business communication awarded by the IABC Africa Region. It recognises communication excellence in non-communication executives and is presented as acknowledgement of a leader’s commitment to, and support for, the organisation’s communication professionals as well as special initiatives that significantly raised the standard of communication within the company and/or the industry as a whole.

In addition, the award recognises a leader’s role in supporting the effective and strategic use of communication towards attaining organisational goals. This award is traditionally given to someone who is not an IABC member, but who is a captain of industry and spends time speaking with and listening to stakeholders around the world.

“Despite operating within an industry fraught with challenge – more so than any other sector in South AfricaNorman Mbazima is the kind of leader who not only values connecting with employees, but who feels comfortable and dedicates considerable time to it,” explains Sophia Dower, regional director for IABC Africa.

“This was evident in June this year at IABC’s International Conference in New York, where Kumba Iron Ore became the first South African company ever to win four international IABC Gold Quill Awards in the same year. This is not only proof of hard work and commitment from a dedicated communication team, but also proof of superior leadership,” Dower concluded.

Mbazima thanked his colleagues and the IABC for his award. “As this award is specifically aimed at non-communication executives, I am humbled to be among the best business communicators in the country and indeed on the continent. You know, us chartered accounts are always accused of being boring and teased about being bad communicators who rather speak to numbers than to people. I hope that with this award, I am changing the minds of a few people about that,” he chuckled.

Mbazima was appointed CEO of Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore business in September 2012. Before that, he held the same position at Anglo American’s Thermal Coal business where he managed the business unit’s record operating profit in 2011 and improved safety performance.

He is also a member of the employment equity leadership team and serves as Chairperson of Anglo American’s dedicated corporate social investment arm, the Chairman’s Fund. He further serves as a member of the executive committee of Anglo American plc. Mbazima joined Anglo American in 2001.

“At Kumba Iron Ore we are committed to and support business communication, and this has led to a significant increase in the standard of communication within the company. Effective communication has helped us to not only relay messages to our stakeholders, but also build a diverse workforce in an effective and strategic way to attain our organisational goals,” Mbazima said when he accepted the award.

Previous winners include Dr Michael Jordaan, CEO of First National Bank (2009), Judge Mervyn King (2010) and Dr Theuns Eloff, vice-chancellor of the NWU (2012).

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