Sasol CEO set to leave in 2024

Sasol said it has a plan in place to find a successor for Chief Executive Officer Fleetwood Grobler, whose term of running South Africa’s biggest publicly traded company by revenue will end next year.

The board’s nomination and governance committee started a “process to identify a suitable successor” to Grobler in 2022, Chairman Sipho Nkosi said in an emailed response to questions.

The company will announce the new CEO in the first half of 2024, he said.

Grobler’s five-year term ends in December next year and “the board has got a well thought through succession plan,” the CEO said in an interview at the company’s Johannesburg headquarters. “They’ve really actively engaged to make sure that it’s going to be the outcome that they want to see.”

Grobler, 61, started at Sasol in 1984 and has worked throughout its global operations. He took over as head of the company in October 2019 — months before the Covid-19 pandemic — when co-CEOs Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell agreed to step down after delays and cost overruns at its $13 billion chemicals project in Louisiana.

Under Grobler, Sasol’s revenue has expanded 35% and the company — South Africa’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases — announced a plan to target a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030.

The company plans to accomplish that by replacing some of the coal it uses — to make synthetic fuel and chemicals — with natural gas. It’s also testing the viability of making green hydrogen.

Sasol “is on a good pathway” to increase diversity in leadership at the company, Grobler said.