Johannesburg, South Africa, 9 November 2023 – At a prestigious awards ceremony held at the Sandton Convention Centre this week, bp Southern Africa (bpSA) CEO Taelo Mojapelo received the coveted Top Women Business Leader of the Year 2023 accolade in recognition of her track record of exceptional business performance and innovative policies to empower fellow women.
The awards, now in their 20th year, celebrate exceptional women leaders and organizations across a spectrum of industries. bpSA was also a finalist in the category of Business of the Year 2023.
With a remarkable track record in supply chain, leadership, strategy and operational excellence across Africa, Mojapelo’s commitment to transformation and values-based leadership at bpSA has created a resilient organization amidst the energy industry’s transition to net zero. She actively supports and sponsors the diversity, equity and inclusion agenda, ensuring teams recognize people’s individuality while promoting a high-performance culture, as demonstrated by the successful implementation of key strategic imperatives.
“I am honoured to be counted alongside the phenomenal women who have received this award over the past twenty years,” says Mojapelo.
In 2021, the BWASA women in leadership census found that only 27.7% of directors and 29.4% of executive managers were women for all participating entities. In the energy industry, the stats are even more dire, with only 21% of the workforce being made up of women.
“While there’s so much more to be done, the calibre of women leaders that these awards acknowledge is testament that our country is making good progress in transforming the business landscape, especially in the empowerment of women,” she says.
This award is a recognition of the collective efforts of bp globally and my supportive leadership team in Southern Africa,” Mojapelo says. “bp is committed to increasing the diversity of its employees, especially given the historically male-dominated nature of the energy industry. In South Africa, policies to promote diversity and inclusion are vital in an effort to correct a long history of unequal opportunities.”
bpSA has almost 900 employees, of whom 45% are women, while female representation at executive level also sits at 45%. The company is also taking steps to promote external empowerment. For example, it recently sold its East London fuel terminal to black-women owned WASAA, and has assisted Makwande Supply and Distribution, a 100% black-women-owned enterprise, to become one of its secondary transport operators.
Mojapelo was appointed bpSA CEO in June 2020, having joined the company just two months earlier as Head of Commercial Optimisation and Supply. She holds a BSc (honours) degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Natal, a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from Cambridge University and an MBA from the University of Pretoria’s GIBS Business School.
Earlier this year, she was included on the Africa.com 2023 Definitive List of Women CEOs, which recognises women who lead big businesses in Africa.