Number of black South African CEOs declining


The 2015 Jack Hammer Executive Report has found that there has been a decline in the number of black South African CEOs from 15 per cent three years ago to 10 per cent this year.

On Tuesday CNBC Africa spoke to the Black Management Forum (BMF) President, Bonang Mohale where he expressed just how unsurprised he was by the findings of this report.

“It is consistent with the BMF’s own three year study called the Transformation Barometer which demonstrates beyond any shadow of a doubt that this unfinished project of nation building of giving effect to the South Africa of Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela’s dream, it’s far from over,” said Mohale.


“If anything instead of making progress northward we are making progress in the wrong direction,” he adds.

The report explains that although the executive teams of SA’s Top 40 companies are gradually becoming better represented, very few of will become CEOs.

“In other words, there is a pool of only 36 black executives, which forms 10 per cent of the total number of executives, within SA’s Top 40 companies who are even in contention to make it to the top,” said Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, CEO of Jack Hammer in a statement.

Goodman-Bhyat explains that for at least the next five to ten years, we will continue to have minor transformation in these companies and that the base of influence is unlikely to change despite companies trying to deliver on promises of transformation.

 “Twenty-one years into democracy they are dissatisfied with the rate of progress. It cannot be that 10.3 per cent of the population continue to hold 60 to 70 per cent of the wealth and influence of the country and we think that is sustainable,” said Mohale.

Mohale believes this is why so much of South Africa’s youth is angry and why many campaigns like the student protests that have been occurring at the tertiary level.

On a more optimistic note, Goodman-Bhyat acknowledges telecommunications firms MTN and Vodacom for showcasing more diversity.

“The majority of their black executives occupy major operational and business roles, and they have achieved more meaningful executive transformation than most of their peers,” she said.