Catherine Lesetedi, CEO of the Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Group has once again been named as part of Africa.com’s 2023 Definitive List of Women CEOs. This is the third time Catherine has been named on the illustrious platform.
This list, the only one of its kind in Africa, is a data-driven list that recognises the women who lead big business in Africa. Big business, for this purpose, is defined as being listed on one of Africa’s stock exchanges and having revenue of over $100 million, or a market cap of over $150 million.
Harvard Business Review reports on the startling lack of diversity among CEOs of big business. To be the CEO of a large, listed company in Africa is an extreme rarity for women, which is why recognising them is so important. Research by Harvard Business School faculty recognises one important factor that all of the women who reach the CEO spot have in common: resilience.
“In simple terms, the answer to the question of what it takes [for these women] to succeed can be reduced to a single capacity: resilience…. women we interviewed seemed to rely more heavily than others on that quality, because of the frequency with which they encountered obstacles and setbacks resulting from the intersecting dynamics of race, gender, and other identities.” Harvard Business Review
The Africa.com list was compiled over many months through a deep research effort, starting with data provided by Bloomberg on all of the listed companies in Africa. From there, the research team culled the data to meet the required size requirements, and then further determined which of those companies had women at the head. The list also includes women who lead divisions of listed companies, such that the division would qualify for the list were it a standalone entity, and the women who lead the Africa region for globally listed companies, such that the region would qualify for the list were it a standalone entity.
Catherine was appointed as CEO of the BIHL Group in March 2016. Prior to this, she served as the CEO of Botswana Life Insurance Limited. She sits on various Boards, including Boards of BIHL Group, Bifm Capital Investments Fund One, Botswana Insurance Company, Nico Holdings and its subsidiary boards, Sanlam Namibia and its subsidiary Boards and Letshego Holdings Limited.
“It is a privilege and an honour to be named amongst so many other women who I look to with great admiration. I am honoured to have been selected as one of the top women leading big business in Africa. I congratulate the other women on the list; we need to continue to empower women and girls, for it is essential to the health and social development of families, communities and countries. And so, we all have a role to play as women of power and influence. It is key to sustaining economic growth, political stability and social transformation,” said Catherine.
To mark the evolution of Africa.com’s Definitive List of Women CEOs, now in its third year, Africa.com researched and analysed 2,020 listed companies on Africa’s 24 stock exchanges. The companies were screened for revenue of $100 million or more, or a market cap of $150 million or more, which yielded a list of 787 companies. The public websites of these 787 companies were examined to determine those women who have a title of chief executive officer or managing director or president AND to confirm that these executives have bottom line, profit and loss responsibility.
This work represents one of the first analyses of the performance of publicly listed companies in Africa conducted through a gender lens. The research will be shared with the world on April 19th at the virtual reveal of the star performers on Africa.com’s 2023 Definitive List of Women CEOs.