Yolisa Phahle recognised in Definitive List of Women CEOs

News: General undertook a rigorous research project to identify the women who run the largest, most complex businesses on the African continent. The result of this extensive research undertaking is The Definitive List of Women CEOs.

Yolisa Phahle recognised in Definitive List of Women CEOs

MultiChoice’s Yolisa Phahle, CEO General Entertainment & Connected Video, made the list of 50 women CEOs leading corporate Africa.  The list was compiled over many months through a deep research effort to examine the management of big business in Africa.  Big business, for this purpose, is defined as being listed on one of Africa’s stock exchanges and having a market capitalization of over $150 million USD or being a global publicly listed company with a market capitalization of over $50 billion USD and significant operations in Africa.  

Harvard Business School Professor Tony Mayo presented his research findings on what it takes for African-American women to reach the top spot in the corporate sector as part of the Summit on October 13.  At this event, the names of the 50 women on the list were revealed.  In addition, a panel of women from the list told the stories of their rise to the top of Corporate Africa, and commented on Professor Mayo’s research by addressing what it takes to make it to the top in Africa, specifically.  Another high profile panel addressed what stock exchanges are doing globally to advocate for more women in big business, and will feature the heads of the major African stock exchanges.  

Yolisa Phahle started her career in music, as a classical pianist and violinist before joining the world of television in 1998 as a presenter, producer and sound and vision mixer for the BBC. She has held several senior roles within MultiChoice South Africa is now the driving force behind the Group’s content strategy to be the world’s leading and most-loved African storyteller. This means delivering the best international and local content to the organisation’s more than 19.5 million customers across 50 African countries, with a strong focus on innovation and industry development. MultiChoice has 24 local and 8 international channels.

“It is an honour to be recognised along other women leading big business in Africa. I hope that our collective efforts will pave the way for more African girls to aspire to reach their biggest goals in Africa’s private sector corporations”, says Phahle.

Methodology for The Definitive List

The Definitive List of Women CEOs is the product of a data-driven research project that began by identifying all publicly listed companies on all of the twenty-one stock exchanges in Africa - a list of over 1400 companies.  From there, the researchers screened the companies to focus on the largest companies - those with a market capitalization of $150 million USD or larger, resulting in a list of 355 corporations.  Once the researchers had identified these 355 companies, the largest in Africa, they then searched the public information available on the management teams of these companies.  In order to qualify for the List, women had to have a CEO or managing director title at the head of one of these companies. The titles were then vetted further by examining where the women fit within the company’s overall organizational structure to ensure that the women truly hold authority that is consistent with their title. 

In addition to the women selected through the process above, the analysis went on to identify two additional groups of women running Corporate Africa.  One additional group of women are those who run divisions of very large African corporate entities, such that their division, if spun out on its own, would qualify for the list with its own divisional market cap of $150 million USD or more.  The roles of the women running these divisions were vetted within the context of the company’s organizational structure - the title alone was not sufficient to make the list.  The women in this group have profit and loss responsibility for a revenue generating division that would be valued at $150 million or more, on its own.

Lastly, women who run the entire African region, a region within Africa, or an African country for global corporations listed on international exchanges were then identified.  To qualify for this group, only international companies with a market cap of $50 billion or more are included.  The women running these businesses range from those who run a country, such as Kenya or Nigeria, to those who run all of sub-Saharan Africa for these global behemoths.

Sources: We acknowledge African Business Magazine for contributing to the financial data on the African publicly listed corporations.

For more information, email or contact at: +27 11 881 5941.

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