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Unleashing the talents and potential of our people


Ana Fonseca Nordang was appointed Umicore’s new Executive Vice President of People and Organization in September 2023. She is also the third female Management Board member. We talk to her about her first 100 days in the role; why gender diversity is a key focus; the importance of Umicore’s young graduate programme; and her plans for the future.

"I think a huge part of why we remain an employer of choice is that people want to work for a purpose driven company that is contributing to making a better world."

Ana Fonseca Nordang, EVP People and Organization

You joined Umicore on 1 September 2024, tell us who is Ana Fonseca Nordang?

I was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal but I’ve lived in several countries including a stint in the UK for my studies, and the US where I kick-started my career in Washington DC working in business HR consulting and where I received my MBA. I then spent some time living, working and raising a family in Norway together with my Norwegian husband before heading back to the US for a few years. I worked for over 10 years for an international energy company in a variety of business and HR roles, including as Chief Human Resources Officer. And now here we are in Belgium. Outside of work I love spending time with my family while also keeping fit and healthy with Pilates with a little bit of weight training thrown in.

What has defined your first 100 days?

I’ve been learning about our business and, of course, getting to know our people. In the first months I spent a lot of time with my team as well as meeting my colleagues and leaders from across the whole Umicore Group. To really experience this global company and truly understand the culture I have made it a priority to travel to our different locations. As you would expect, I’m based in Brussels at HQ but have travelled to Hoboken a couple of times, and have visited our operations in China, Finland, Germany, Poland and the US. So that’s really what my first 100 days have been about – meeting our people and learning the business.

What do you think makes Umicore an employer of choice, a title it has held for 18 consecutive years? That’s quite an achievement.

I’m not the best person to answer that having just joined. Umicore however, is certainly an employer of choice for me! I think a huge part of why we remain an employer of choice is that people want to work for a purpose-driven company that is contributing to making a better world. From the conversations I’ve had over the past few months, our people are proud to work for Umicore, they believe in our 2030 RISE Strategy and are passionate about contributing their knowledge and expertise to our ambition.

We walk the talk. We have a strategy that clearly states that we are working towards a cleaner world and we translate that not only into the business we do, but how we do business. It’s the greener car policy; the rainwater recovery from our offices; new windmills on different sites and power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy; and our contribution to forest development. So, we walk the talk in a lot of what we do. Umicore also provides employees with the possibility to create a healthy work-life balance and our people feel supported and cared for, even though the workload is sometimes very high. It is all these aspects combined that I believe makes Umicore an employer of choice.

"As EVP I have also joined the Management Board, this sends an important signal that our executive recognizes how people and talent are key to delivering on our strategy.”

Ana Fonseca Nordang, EVP People and Organization

Your role – EVP of People and Organization – was newly created, tell us more about the role and the impact for Umicore.

This year has been a year of transformation for Umicore. One of the key changes that has taken place was the reorganization of human resources into the People and Organization function. It is a huge change for the function, for the company and for our many leaders. As EVP I have also joined the Management Board, this sends an important signal that our executive recognizes how people and talent are key to delivering on our strategy. This reorganization is a deliberate move by our MB to place greater importance on our people and the vital role they play in achieving our ambitious goals under the 2030 RISE Strategy.

For me personally, the role of EVP of People and Organization has got to be one of the best roles at Umicore to help unleash the talent and potential of our people. And, together with my team, I’m ready and looking forward to the challenge.

What are your priorities going forwards?

On joining, my focus has been about reading, reviewing and understanding our 2030 RISE Strategy and what it requires from our leadership, our people and from an organizational perspective to ensure we can deliver on our objectives. So this is the first of my three key main priorities.

The second priority is to continue the work towards a diverse and inclusive culture where people feel safe and are well. And lastly, to continue the transformation of our people and organization function.

Tell us more about Umicore’s diverse and inclusive culture.

Diversity is an integral part of our recruitment strategy. Umicore has successfully integrated diversity into all elements of the recruitment activities with key targets for gender but we also need to look beyond gender at ethnicity, nationality, and experiences and preferences.

On gender diversity, our female representation is better on the whole compared with other companies in the “As EVP I have also joined the Management Board, this sends an important signal that our executive recognizes how people and talent are key to delivering on our strategy.” Ana Fonseca Nordang EVP People and Organization automotive, mechanical engineering, mining and metals sectors. Umicore has also gone from one woman on the Management Board to three women in this past year. Having senior female leaders signals to other women that there is a career path and opportunities for them at the very top of the organization. Worth noting also is that in the 2023 cohort of young graduates, we reached 51% gender diversity. These are definitely positive developments on which we can continue to build.

What stands out for you as a key success story with regards people and organization?

Umicore’s young graduate program is a real success story for the organization and has clear links with being an employer of choice. I joined Umicore on the same day as our 28 graduates and had the privilege to meet them all and sit in on their first day of presentations. It is great to see so many talented young people wanting to work for Umicore. And what’s interesting is that particularly young women from technical and business fields are joining our ranks so this year we have a complete gender balance in our graduates. In 2023, the young graduate program was also expanded beyond Belgium and China into Germany. Going forward, further expansion is being considered.