The issue of gender balance has been discussed extensively all over the world. This is because women continue to be left out of top positions in companies despite the fact that there are more women than men in the world. However, there are a few companies in Zimbabwe which have embraced the role women can playing in leading a company. These have catapulted women to top positions. We look at some of these women.
Chipo is the Managing Director of TelOne since 2013. Before that, she was the Chief Executive Officer of the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG). She had also worked as the Finance Director of Sheraton Hotel and RTG. She is a Chartered Accountant by profession. It is commendable that Chipo has managed to keep TelOne going despite a barrage of challenges. The company has been saddled with huge debt, ageing infrastructure, skills shortages and a declining voice call subscriber base for a while. However, thanks to Chipo’s leadership, the company is emerging as a serious contender in the broadband space. They recently launched a fibre broadband project in Beitbridge which will result in data charges declining by up to 40% if all goes according to plan. Operating costs also continue to decline. It remains to be seen if Chipo will be retained when the company gets a new investor together with NetOne.
She has been the Chief Executive Officer of Telecel Zimbabwe from 2015. Since 2013, she had been acting in this capacity. Angeline joined Telecel in 2004 as Legal Manager and was promoted through the ranks to the position of Company Secretary and Legal Director before becoming CEO. But, her first job after school was as a Prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office. She then worked in the Civil Department before joining Fidelity Life. She has also worked for the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (now TelOne).
Nancy Guzha started off as a Management Trainee at Unilever in 1997. She then rose to the position of Assistant Brand Manager before becoming Product Manager of Cairns Foods. She then re-joined Unilever as Brand Manager for South East Africa and worked in a few other roles until she became the first female Managing Director of Unilever between 2011 and 2014. She then became Chief Executive Officer of Cairns from 2015 to 2017 until her elevation to the position of Head of FMCG for Takura, the holding investment company for Cairns and Lobels. It must be noted that when Nancy took over the reins at Cairns, the company was just coming out of judicial management. Her reign saw the reduction of operating costs and other good fortunes for Cairns hence her promotion to the holding company Takura.
Jean started her career as a Prosecutor and moved to the Parliament of Zimbabwe where she worked as Legal Advisor. After pursuing a Masters Degree, she worked as a Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe for two years before joining the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as Legal Counsel and later Division Chief – Corporate Affairs /Bank Secretary for 17 years. She is currently a partner at Chinamasa Mudimu and Maguranyanga and Director at NMB Bank. She also sits on the boards of ZimRe Holdings, ZimRe Property Investments and Homelink.
Dr Jackie Chimhanzi
She is the Chief Executive Officer of the African Leadership Institute since 2016. Prior to that, she was a Senior Strategist at the International Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa. Before joining IDC, she was the Lead: Africa Desk at Deloitte South Africa. She was previously the Lead Strategy Division for the same company. Dr Chimhanzi has also lectured at the University College of Wales Aberystwyth between 2000 and 2004. She is on the boards of Econet Wireless and AdvTech Group, a Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed company. She also serves in a number of advisory capacities and is a member of the World Economic Forum Africa Regional Strategy Group.
Clara Mlambo joined British American Tobacco (BAT) as a Management Trainee and went on to hold positions of Head of Brands, Head of Trade and Marketing Manager in Zimbabwe. She then moved to BAT South Africa as Key Account Manager. She also worked as a Marketing Planning Manager there before being appointed Head of Brands for BAT East and Central Africa. Clara has been Managing Director of BAT Zambia between 2014 and 2016 before being appointed Managing Director for Zimbabwe in 2016. BAT got its first Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9001:2015 Certification under her guidance. The company has also performed well financially with effective cost containment measures bearing fruit.
She is the Group Managing Director of Edgars since 2016. She joined the company in 1988 as Financial Director and also worked as Group Manufacturing Director, New Business Director and Group Corporate Services Director. Linda is credited with helping Edgars regain its market share after the economic downturn of 2008. More recently, Edgars’ profit before tax rose 200% from $0.9 million in 2017 to $2.6 million in 2018 despite a harsh operating environment characterised by foreign currency shortages. She sits on the Stanbic Bank board.
Grace joined Diamond Insurance Company in 1988. It was ranked thirteenth out of fourteen insurance companies in Zimbabwe at that time. Within five years, the company ranked third, thanks to her leadership. In 2012, NICOZ and Diamond Insurance Company merged to form NICOZ Diamond. Muradzikwa became the first woman to lead and head a Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company, a feat achieved by only two other women. NICOZ Diamond thrived under Muradzikwa as Managing Director, with operating profit rising by 79% between 2009 and 2017. The company also expanded into Zambia, Malawi and Uganda. Grace sits on the boards of Buy Zimbabwe Campaign, Africa and Bindura Universities. Although she will soon leave the company to pursue other interests, she has already made her mark
Zimbabwe is certainly not short of capable women.