BP Southern Africa appoints the company’s first female CEO
BP’s Southern Africa unit (BPSA) has announced the appointment of the company’s first female Chief Executive Officer, Priscillah Mabelane, a South African national and chartered accountant.
Mabelane acting as CEO is a significant milestone in BP’s work towards the diversification and equality of its employment system.
“Priscillah’s appointment reinforces BPSA’s pioneering role and strength of commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce that will breed creativity and ensure we meet, even exceed customer expectations,” said BPSA Board chairperson Thandi Orleyn.
This is something that the firm has evidently been working towards, with the naming of two female senior executives in the BPSA leadership team.
Kelebogile Tseladimitlwa was named as Human Resources Director for the firm, and Prinisha Khoosal was appointed as Commercial Integration Manager, with Orelyn herself standing as a female company executive.
The step up is a natural internal progression for Mabelane, having acted as the Chief Financial Officer of the Southern Africa unit since 2011, with a total of 20 years of experience in similar leadership roles.
“Given her proven track record in her previous executive roles, we are confident that Priscillah will be a strong leader for our business, especially as we continue to explore new areas of growth and development,” Orelyn continued.
Mabelane will fill the role left vacant by her predecessor Daniel Odogwu who acted as BPSA CEO since January 2014.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.