The appointment of a black woman to run a significant unit of its business may not have been possible for Naspers when it started operations long ago.
Created by white South Africans to produce a Dutch-language newspaper, Naspers, which is now the continent’s most valuable company, just appointed its first woman, and first black person as chief executive officer.
Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, 48, will be heading the South African unit of Naspers, which is now a $108-billion company that invests mostly in technology around the world. As CEO, Mahanyele-Dabengwa will lead its daily business activities and also manage the company’s long-held desire to make successful tech investment bets in Africa, reports Quartz.
Mahanyele-Dabengwa, with connections at the top, has been CEO of Shanduka Group (Pty) Ltd., a black-owned investment holding company started by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. She has also held board positions at companies including mobile operator Vodacom Group Ltd., miner Gold Fields Ltd. and airline company Comair Ltd.
She is expected to bring her experiences to bear in her new role, considering only one black woman now runs a Top 40-listed company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Many have since praised her appointment as a huge step for black women holding corporate power. Most businesses in the world today continue to be dominated by men as women CEOs do not make up a huge portion of bosses who have risen to the top.
In recent years, some black women have been beating the odds to make it to the top of the corporate leader. Apart from Mahanyele-Dabengwa heading Naspers in South Africa, the following top companies are also being run by black women who have made it to the head of the C-suite.