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Sanlam Ranks in Top 50 Women CEOs in Africa

24 November 2021

The pandemic exacerbated the gender divide – of the 3 million job losses during the 2020 lockdowns in South Africa, 2 million were women.

And current forecasts from UN Women predict it will take 130 years for the world to see true gender equality in senior leadership globally. Women continue to be underrepresented at a leadership level in Africa, but strides are being made to correct gender inequality.

Against this background, the Sanlam Group – Africa’s largest non-banking financial services group – has welcomed having four women in the Top 50 CEOs in Africa, as ranked by Africa.com. In its data-driven Definitive List of Women CEOs, Africa.com evaluated over 1 400 companies across the 24 African stock exchanges.

Jeanett Modise, Group Human Resources Director of Sanlam, says “For us, having four leaders in the Top 50 is extremely meaningful. Sanlam is an African champion, we are committed to unleashing the potential deeply embedded in the people of this continent. This ranking is about our female leaders being seen as role models for African girls and women across the continent. We hope they inspire many others to fulfil their full potential and live their lives with confidence.”

Modise said that rankings like this one from Africa.com are crucial as they shine the spotlight on our success stories but also highlight how we cannot stop our deliberate focus on driving the gender equality agenda forward in the workplace.

The four Sanlam leaders are:

1. Lizé Lambrechts, CEO / Executive Director, Santam, South Africa, Johannesburg Stock Exchange $1.9 billion USD

Lizé Lambrechts Lizé Lambrechts

2. Helena Conradie, CEO, Satrix 40, South Africa, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Market Cap $650 million USD

Helena Conradie Helena Conradie

3. Catherine Lesetedi, Group Chief Executive Officer, Botswana Insurance Holdings, Botswana, Botswana Stock Exchange, Market Cap $445 million USD

Catherine Lesetedi Catherine Lesetedi

4. Kanyisa Mkhize, CEO Sanlam Corporate, Sanlam, South Africa, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Market Cap $8.6 billion USD

Kanyisa Mkhize Kanyisa Mkhize

While they made the list, there are many other women across the Sanlam Group who are strong and impactful leaders. The Group has 162 women in leadership roles, more than 40% of total leadership, and 64% of the total staff complement are women. “We are working hard through various talent management strategies including leadership development programmes, coaching, mentorship and high-impact opportunities to fast-track more women into leadership roles.”

Modise said that these leaders walk the talk, they are each passionate about equal opportunities for women in the workplace and in society. Kanyisa Mkhize says, “It’s an honour to be included and I hope this goes some way to inspire young women to believe that they too can be CEOs one day. Often, we tend to inadvertently suppress women’s expectations. We cap what they’re seen as capable of, simply through how we frame conversations. We need to change the narrative, so people feel equally empowered to set ambitious goals and go after these.”

Catherine Lesetedi says, “Women give so much to so many. We juggle myriad roles. We play powerful parts in our families and communities, and we bring invaluable talents to the world of work. It’s time more women take a seat at the table. We need to take up space, to be tenacious and go after what we want. We are infinitely capable. We can change the world.”

In the Africa.com study, researchers worked with data from Bloomberg. South Africa dominated the list more than any other African country. The list also revealed that more women CEOs are found in finance than in any other sector. The methodology covers three sections: 1) CEOs of African exchange listed companies with a market cap over $150 million USD; 2) division heads of African exchange listed companies, where the division itself would be valued at over $150 million, were it standalone; and 3) Africa region heads, or country heads, of globally listed companies with a market cap of over $50 billion.

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