Maurice Radebe has entrepreneurship in his blood. At seven, he watched his grandfather grow his little shop in Katlehong into a supermarket, learning from a young age the value of a good business strategy. He has since evolved into a strong business leader, in one of the most important seats of power in the South African economy. Radebe is chairman of Sasol Oil (a subsidiary of Sasol Limited), which he joined in 2004. He was promoted from MD to chair and Sasol Limited Group executive committee member in November and his charges include group corporate affairs (locally and globally), stakeholder and government relations, enterprise development and the group’s black economic empowerment (BEE) strategy. Quietly confident, he fits the chair easily – not only because he has amassed a large bank of experience in the minerals and energy sector, but he also chairs the African Mineral and Energy Forum, which he cofounded in 2008 to promote positive development and empowerment in the energy industry. At the time of his promotion, Sasol Limited group chief executive Pat Davies referred to Radebe as one of the “strong leaders” in an organisation embued with “great depth of talent”. Before joining Sasol Oil, which operates about 410 Sasol and Exel retail convenience centres throughout the country and exports fuel to many African countries, Radebe was CEO of Exel Petroleum (since incorporated into Sasol Oil). With his nearly 20 years of operational and strategic management experience in this sector, he has been instrumental in growing Sasol Oil into a highly competitive, major oil company in South Africa. “My job requires strong strategic vision and leadership skills, which has been my interest throughout my career. In fact, that is why I enrolled at Wits Business School while I was regional retail manager at Shell (1995 to 1997), to consolidate my learning and understanding of leadership. When I fi nished my MBA, I started as GM of marketing at Exel, where my knowledge was really tested,” he says. Radebe holds a BSc in applied mathematics and physics from the University of the North, as well as a higher diploma in education from Wits University, but he says his WBS MAP and MBA programmes are what gave him an “overall understanding” of business, from startup to growth strategy. “It was not easy at the time, as I was married with a full-time job, but it bridged a gap for me, and still stands me in good stead. The value of it was in attending lectures, in the cross-pollination of ideas with peers, being able to share problems and solutions,” he says, adding that a three-month executive leadership programme at Harvard University in 2007 augmented his MBA credentials.