Priscillah Mabelane: BP’s First Black Woman CEO, Five Things You Need to Know



Priscillah Mabelane has been appointed as the new chief executive of BP Southern Africa. She will be the first ever black woman to be appointed to that role and a lot of people seem excited by the appointment. She will take the helm on 1 September, exactly six years after joining the organization.

BP Southern Africa chairperson, Thandi Orleyn, was quoted by eNCA as saying;

“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.”

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Thandi Orleyn, thanked outgoing chief executive, Daniel Odogwu, who was at the helm for three and a half years while welcoming Mabelane. She also used the appointment to make a statement about the diversity in BP Southern Africa;

“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.”

Priscillah Mabelane’s appointment follows closely on the heels of two recent female senior executive appointments to the BPSA leadership team: Kelebogile Tseladimitlwa as human resources director Southern Africa, and Prinisha Khoosal as commercial integration manager, Southern Africa during the latter part of 2016.

Here are five things you need to know about Priscillah Mabelane;

Early Life

Like all truly inspirational stories, Priscillah Mabelane has come a long way from when she was younger. In a talk she gave about how to prepare for the C-suite, she revealed that she was just a simple girl coming from a small town in Limpopo who by her sheer passion, diligence and determination has found herself excelling now.

When she was 12 years old Priscillah was her father’s typist in his book keeping company which is where she said that she learnt diligence, a lesson that she has carried through all her endeavors.

Priscillah Mabelane

Growth

She joined Ernst and Young early in her career and was the first black person in their Pietermaritzburg office. Times were definitely harder then and it was a tough time to be a black woman in corporate South Africa. Two partners at the firm, however, saw her potential and took a risk and invested in her and her career growth.

Career history prior to BP

She has held senior positions in a number of other large companies, amongst these are the CFO of Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA), tax director at Ernst & Young, and at Eskom, she held various roles in finance, tax, and general management. All this should leave no doubt that she has had a brilliant career life that would have no doubt prepared her for this new role.

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Career history at BP

She has had a truly phenomenal journey at BP which has now clocked six years. She first started out as the Chief Financial OfficerBP PLC in 2011. Since then she has also hit milestones as the Interim CEO/CFO BP Southern Africa in 2014, before resuming again as the Chief Financial Officer BP Southern Africa which was the role she held before being appointed Chief Executive Officer BP Southern Africa this 2017.

New Milestone

Priscillah Mabelane is the first woman in the history of the SA’s oil industry to head a multi-national company, and this marks a significant milestone both in her life and in the industry at large.

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