May-Elaine Thomson

17th August 2018

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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Full Name: May-Elaine Thomson

Position and Company Name: CEO at Hogan Lovells (South Africa)

Main Activity of the Company: Offering global legal expertise to our clients

First Job: Information technology administrator in an accounting firm

Number of People under Your Leadership: About 250

Management Style: Open-door policy, hands-on crisis management, team effort

Personal Best Achievement: Becoming the first female CEO of a law firm in South Africa. Over the 20 years that I have worked in our multifaceted law firm, I have overseen and managed the incorporation of our local firm into an international law firm, as part of the 45-plus offices of Hogan Lovells

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Life: My mother

Person Who Has Had the Biggest Influence on Your Career: Dugal Sharp, former Hogan Lovells CEO

Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Advocate Thuli Madonsela – I have had the opportunity to meet her at the She-EO SleepOut, but would like another opportunity to engage with her more. I follow her on Twitter and her tweets inspire me. She gives real meaning to leadership challenges and solutions. She inspires women

Businessperson Who Has Impressed You Most: Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa

Philosophy of Life: Be generous; each one on us is more blessed than another person

Biggest Ever Opportunity: Being promoted to COO – this was a platform to showcase my administrative, organisational and communication skills, which meant I was the glue between our professional, legal staff and the support business services

Biggest Ever Disappointment: There are many disappointments in business, some beyond one's control. It is always disappointing to see people who have become part of the family move on

Hope for the Future: I have faith in our democracy

Favourite Reading: Anything motivational or a good forensics novel

Favourite TV Programme: I love any good movie

Favourite Food/Drink: Skinny cappuccino

Favourite Music: I am not a jazz fan – I love everything else

Favourite Sport: Tennis

Hobbies: Walking my dogs, spending time in my garden or just generally anything outdoors. Bootcamp – mmm but that is not a hobby

Car: BMW X1

Pets: Four dogs – Peppa, Biscuit, Bonnie and Brooklyn – and a cat named Abigail

Miscellaneous Dislikes: Greed

Married: To Derek Thomson

Children: Stepdaughter, Bronwyn, 30

Clubs: None

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor



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