JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Dr Nombasa Tsengwa has been appointment CEO-designate of diversified mining and energy company Exxaro Resources, effective from May 31, 2023, the year in which current CEO Mxolisi Mgojo reaches the retirement age of 63.
The appointment of Dr Tsengwa, who is Exxaro’s current MD Minerals, forms part of what the JSE-listed black-empowered and black-led company described on Thursday as a carefully considered succession plan to ensure a smooth and phased handover of duties and responsibilities.
Mgojo, who himself received Exxaro’s reins from CEO Sipho Nkosi in a similarly measured and well-planned hand-over period, said in response to Mining Weekly that the development and progression of the current succession plan began two years ago.
With Dr Tsengwa having to play internal and external roles in the implementation of Exxaro’s far-reaching journey to a low-carbon future, it was the decision of the board that CEO-designate needed to take up position as soon as possible as the company extends further into renewable energy development, extracts high value from its existing coal assets, and searches for new-era minerals to enhance its low-carbon aspirations and build new opportunities.
Dr Tsengwa would be continuing with the drive on the minerals side while simultaneously transitioning as part of climate-change mitigation. "This has been very well-orchestrated,” Mgojo told Mining Weekly, adding that the transition plan had actually been drawn up between CEO and CEO-designate collaboratively. That joint transition plan was then approved by the board.
A big advantage is Dr Tsengwa’s in-depth knowledge of Exxaro and the role that she has played in the formulation of the company's low-carbon strategy as part of its alignment to the Paris Agreement in response to climate change risk.
Mgojo’s describes Dr Tsengwa as being in a very good position to drive the company forward. “And then, who knows, maybe in the last five months I may just be spending more time on the veranda with Nombasa already having taken over,” he quipped, adding that he was hoping for the smoothest of exits in full confidence that Dr Tsengwa will have taken the Exxaro bull by the horns within that timeframe.
Dr Tsengwa has more than 18 years' executive management and board experience in the public and private sectors.
In 2003, she joined the former Kumba Resources as GM: safety, health and environment and was appointed as executive GM: safety and sustainable development of Exxaro Resources four years later. In 2010, she became directly involved with the management of Exxaro’s coal operations as GM of the tied operations and GM of the Mpumalanga operations.
In 2016, she was appointed as executive head of the coal operations, and then in July last year as Exxaro’s MD minerals business.
Dr Tsengwa is the 2017 winner of the Standard Bank Business Woman of the Year Award and the 2018 winner of the Pan African Awards Africa’s most influential woman in business and government mining industry category. An avid long-distance runner, she has completed nine Comrades marathons.