Naspers, Africa’s most valuable company has appointed a new CEO making history in the process.

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, 48, takes on the role and becomes the company’s first female and first black chief executive.

Her appointment follows a long streak of white, male CEOs leading the 104-year old company.

As CEO for the South Africa unit, Mahanyele-Dabengwa will lead its daily business activities and also manage the company’s long-held desire to make successful tech investment bets in Africa.

Mahanyele-Dabengwa will now lead Naspers’ drive for major African tech startup wins with a $314 million fund announced last October. She will also oversee Naspers Labs, a social impact and skills acquisition initiative for South Africa’s unemployed youth. Mahanyele-Dabengwa will report to Bob van Dijk, Group CEO of Naspers.

 She’s been CEO of Shanduka Group (Pty) Ltd., a black-owned investment holding company started by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. She’s also on the board of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation. In addition, she’s held board positions at companies including mobile operator Vodacom Group Ltd., miner Gold Fields Ltd. and airline company Comair Ltd.

Her education includes an economics degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey and an MBA from De Montfort University in the U.K.


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