Monday, June 1, 2020

Makhwade-Seboni becomes Mascom’s “Number One” employee

Former British Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher once famously said, “If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” Was Thatcher possibly predicting the 2019 boardroom changes at one of the country’s leading telecommunications companies – Mascom Wireless?

On a day in which most consumers – both local and abroad were distracted by the beginning of a festive season shopping spree otherwise known as Black Friday, Mascom did not only broadcast the “discount” messages but also sent a special message to the nation by announcing the appointment of Dzene Makhwade-Seboni as the new Chief Executive.

Makhwade-Seboni who replaces former CEO and Portugal national – Jose Couceiro becomes not just the first Motswana but also the first woman to be appointed the CEO of Mascom. Since inception, Mascom has been rotating Portuguese nationals as Chief Executives, thanks largely to the shareholder agreement that was signed at a time when Mascom was founded and the Portuguese were shareholders. The past immediate CEO – Couceiro held the position of CEO for over 10 years having joined the mobile operator as an executive 17 years ago and rose through the ranks. He only stepped down in April 2019 a move that saw Makhwade-Seboni appointed interim CEO.

Makhwade-Seboni on the other hand joined Mascom in 2006 as the Chief Marketing Officer and was later appointed to the position of Chief Operations Officer in 2016.

As it announced Makhwade-Seboni as the substantive CEO, the Mascom board said her experience in strategic planning and commercial leadership from various institutions in telecommunications, banking and the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) will be useful on the new role.

Makhwade-Seboni is a graduate of Harvard University, with a BA Economics, from this prestigious institution. She also holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town.

Makhwade-Seboni ascends to the Mascom top post when globally there’s emerging evidence that suggest putting women into top leadership roles is good for businesses.

A new study from S&P Global Market Intelligence found that public companies with women CEOs or CFOs often were more profitable as they are perceived by investors as being less risky.

As competition in the local mobile telecoms sector intensifies, Mascom will look up to Makhwade-Seboni to steer its ship and outclass her key competitors and male counterparts at BTC and Orange Botswana.

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Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.