Africa.com 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 Africa.com Definitive List of Women CEOs.
SAP’s Cathy Smith, MD Sub-Saharan Africa, 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 will present 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 will be revealed. In addition, a panel of women from the list will tell the stories of their rise to the top of Corporate Africa, and comment on Professor Mayo’s research by addressing what it takes to make it to the top in Africa, specifically. Another high-profile panel will address 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. Registration for the summit is free and can be accessed at Africa.com’s Virtual Event Center. (https://virtualeventcenter.africa.com/)
Cathy Smith was appointed Managing Director of SAP Africa in March 2018. She is the first female head of an emerging markets market unit in SAP’s history. She started her career in the insurance industry as an application developer and spent three years in the UK, consolidating her expertise. Overall, she has more than 30 years’ experience in the IT industry, working for major global industry players like IBM and Cisco.
“I am truly humbled by this recognition from Africa.com and to be in the company of so many incredible, successful and inspirational women leaders. My congratulations to each of them,” says Smith. “I believe that diversity of every kind brings enormous value to organisations and is something we should constantly strive for. I would love to see more young women studying in the STEM fields and encourage more women to enter the technology industry. It is such an exciting space to be in and there is so much positive impact we can make, not only in business but also in African communities.”
Methodology for The Definitive List
The Africa.com 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.
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