7 things to know about the new CEO of Naspers SA

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa (Sigma website)

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Naspers announced on Wednesday that Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa would lead its operations in SA in the newly created post of Naspers CEO, South Africa. 

“I am thrilled to be joining Naspers at such a pivotal time for the group and for South Africa, and look forward to adding value to the group in realising its strategy in South Africa,” said Mahanyele-Dabengwa in a statement.

Here are 7 things to know about her:

1. She was, until recently, the executive chairperson of Sigma Capital. 

Sigma Capital, according to its website, is a privately held, majority-black owned investment holding company formed in 2015. 

2. She will report directly to Bob van Dijk.

Mahanyele-Dabengwa will be based in Johannesburg and report directly to the group CEO of Naspers. According to Naspers, she will lead the group’s day-to-day business in South Africa and represent its interests in the country.

“She will also be responsible for Naspers’ recently announced units, Naspers Foundry and Naspers Labs,which are designed to help stimulate the South African tech sector and tackle youth unemployment, respectively,” Naspers said.

3. Before joining Sigma, she was the CEO of the Shanduka Group.

The Shanduka Group is an investment holding company that was founded in 2001 by Cyril Ramaphosa. Mahanyele-Dabengwa joined the group in 2004 as a managing director of Shanduka Energy, and later rose to the post of CEO. She left in 2015 to join Sigma.

Ramaphosa disinvested from Shanduka in May 2014 when he was appointed deputy president. The Phembani Group acquired Shanduka the following year. 

4. She won the ForbesWoman Africa 2014 Business Woman of the Year award.

Mahanyele-Dabengwa has won a number of business awards. According to a 2014 Forbes article she was named one of the “Top 50 women in the world to watch in 2008” by The Wall Street Journal, and in 2007 was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Young Leader.

5. She has studied in the US and UK.

According to her profile on the website of Sigma, she holds a BA Economics from Rutgers University in the US, and an MBA from De Montfort University in the UK. She also, in 2008, completed the Kennedy School of Government Executive Education programme ‘Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century’ at Harvard University. 

6. She is on the board of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.

According to its website, the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation is an “independent non-profit organisation that improves lives and creates opportunities through education & enterprise development”. Its 2018 update stated that nearly 600 000 school learners had benefited, among others.

7. She worked at the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

According to her Sigma profile, she was the Head of the Project Finance South Africa business unit at the Development Bank of Southern Africa before joining Shanduka in 2004.

* Fin24 is part of 24.com, a division of Media24, which is a subsidiary of Naspers.


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