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Mr Herman Singh Executive for Innovation Strategy at MTN


As Group Chief Digital Officer of MTN Group Herman was responsible for developing and growing the Digital business. He led the teams that grew the Digital Business to over a Billion Dollars of revenue, was a director and responsible executive of the first African Unicorn (Jumia), built one of the largest Mobile Money implementations in the world with 50 Million clients and also led the team that created Africa’s largest music streaming solution what was the fifth largest in the world in terms of paying subscribers as well as the largest mobile gaming portal in Africa with over 7 million customers. He served on 8 boards for MTN including the JV with MMI in the insurance space (aYo). In some regions the digital business made up oer 30% of total operator revenue.  Herman served on the strategy advisory group of the GSMA, was the responsible executive for the investment in Travelstart (70% marketshare in ZA in the online travel business) and served on the board of MTN’s music subsidiary, Content Connect Africa.

He has played a large role in developing ecosystems of smaller firms from content providers on the various portals to payment networks with merchants and agents.  He has also led the new business incubator at the University of Cape Town and the African Entrepreneurship awards for start-ups at that institution. His engagement with partnerships with smaller firms has led to the creation of new business opportunities of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Herman was also at Vodacom SA where he held a position of Managing Executive: m-commerce for two years. Here he launched Vouchercloud which was the highest rated and most downloaded app in its first year in the market.

Herman is the founder and CEO of Future Advisory, a global professional advisory business and investment firm. He has been a strategy advisor for over 12 years to large blue chip firms and has been a Business School facilitator in parallel with his corporate life for over 20 years.

He was also previously the CEO of Beyond Payments (from 2007 to 2012), the Innovation and New Business Incubator in Standard Bank, the largest Bank in Africa. In his tenure he was instrumental in launching the fastest growing money transfer solution in the country, the first cashless card based Mastercard transit solution complete with on-card wallet, the first bank shop network of over 8000 outlets providing banking services from small scale retail outlets and the first integration of an ecurrency into a social media network together with full m-commerce and wallet capability.

Herman led the technical team involved in building MTN Banking, one of the world’s first JV’s between a Bank and a Telco.  The project was completed in nine months and went on to win the Mastercard Global Award for product innovation. This was the very first large scale implementation of the Fundamo system and went on to form the basis for many implementations by them globally.

In his first years at Standard Bank (from 2000 to 2012 ) Herman drove the launching of Internet Banking, mobile banking, prepaid airtime sales online, ecommerce payment solutions and the rollout of EMV capability onto ATM’s and Point of sales machines. Hemmanth has helped shaped the banks payments strategy and roadmap for both open and closed loop payment solutions and has also helped advise the bank on strategic capabilities and even negotiated major payment transactions including M and A deals involving the acquisition of payment firms. Hemmanth sat on the Payments Board of the Bank and also was a director of Eccentricswitch, a Bank subsidiary involved in payment processing for large retailers in South Africa.

He was previously the Divisional Managing Director of the Industry Division within the Siemens Company for over four Years (1996 - 2000) and was responsible for 14 countries in Southern Africa.  This is the second largest division of the group in the country. His division was responsible for the supply of industrial product, service and projects to the mining and materials handling industries amongst others.

His expertise in mining extends from installing headgear and mine-winders to implementing raiseborers and scraper winches. He has been involved in the construction of the Continents first fully automated minewinder as well as both the recovery process and sort house for the Diamond industry.  He was previously a shareholder in Welprop, a roof support company providing hydraulic roof support to the Gold Mining industry and has worked extensively with in the Platinum industry on optimisation projects.

Herman has worked as a Strategy, mergers and acquisitions and BPR consultant (At The Monitor Company) and specialises in turn-around and change management initiatives. He has held line management positions at the Director level in both Reunert  (for 5 years with total employment of 13 years) (1980 - 1994) and AEG (1994 - 1996) (then part of the Daimler Benz Group - for 2 years where the company received the outstanding manufacturer of the year award in 1996 for productivity improvements.

Agenda Sessions