Merensky Limited welcomes Dean Naidoo as group executive: HR and social capital


Dean plans to make a difference by inspiring the organisation's people and communities.

Seasoned HR leader Dean Naidoo has taken up the role of group executive: human resources and social capital at Merensky Limited and director of Singisi Forest Products.

He joins the sustainable forestry management company after spending nearly eight years with Aurecon and Zutari. He was also previously a board member and group human resources director at Redis. He has also held the role of GM of human resources at Sovereign Health, then a division of Momentum Health and also human resource manager at National Medical Plan (NMP), a division of Medscheme.

Dean was nominated as a finalist for the 2021 CHRO Awards for his role as chief people officer at Zutari.

He holds an MSc from Edinburgh Business School and comes with more than 20 years’ experience, having worked locally and internationally across several industries.

Speaking to CHRO South Africa on his appointment, Dean says first on his agenda is to build meaningful relationships with the internal clients, “This is extremely important as we establish a trust currency, understand the intricacies of this business, and co-create with our internal and external stakeholders as we partner to find solutions daily to complex social and economic opportunities; to delivering employee and shareholder value by creating a sustainably HR value proposition. All in all, to simply make a difference that inspires our people and the communities within which we work!”

Optimistic in nature, Dean explains that challenges facing most firms aren’t unique and can in fact be seen as opportunities. “A growth mindset positions us to explore, to be bold in our decision-making and leadership and adapt to succeed against the ever-evolving external environment. As a business we are on a journey, as we adopt and contribute to our deeper purpose.”

His advice to younger HR leaders? Find your why or your purpose, he says: “Be bold and unconventional. You have earned the right to sit at the table – now make it count. Back yourself. We should not be relying on a traditional approach or service offering to deliver to the business. Businesses are evolving daily: so must we as HR professionals. We should try and be ahead of the curve. Be prepared to be unconventional. Don’t get comfortable, in your role or in your firm. Be prepared to disrupt and be disrupted. We should not become despondent in doing good despite our obstacles and the negativity , because in due season we will see things turn around.”


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