The CEO of South Africa’s third largest mobile network, Cell C, has come under fire on social media for his comments about women in a recent interview.
Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos made the comments in an interview on internet radio station CliffCentral’s Leadership Platform segment.
In the interview, Dos Santos spoke about how Cell C’s representation of women among its staff has increased from around 40% to over 60% since he joined the company in 2012. Dos Santos also spoke about how some of the mobile network’s top engineers are women.
But the way in which Dos Santos, in parts of the interview, spoke about female representation at Cell C in the CliffCentral interview has come under focus.
“If I can use the term on the radio station, women do have a bitch-switch and, boy, if you see two women fighting, it’s worse than two men having an argument,” Dos Santos said in the interview.
Cell C’s sponsorship of the Miss South Africa contest has also come under the spotlight in light of Dos Santos’s comments in the CliffCentral interview.
Dos Santos explained in the interview that his company offers participants in Miss South Africa a 12-month internship at the company and that this has an “effect” on male staff at the operator.
“It brought a whole different atmosphere… I mean, can you imagine, you’ve got 12 gorgeous women and say four, five of them walk into your company. Do you know what it does to the atmosphere in that company, the men dress better, they shave every morning,” Dos Santos said in the CliffCentral interview.
Dos Santos in the interview also said: “We have good-looking women, we have clever women, we have smart women and that’s created a different environment”.
The Cell C CEO, though, said that he would ultimately want to see a women CEO taking over from him.
“There’s not too many women in leadership roles and I’m hoping one day when I step down from Cell C, a woman will be the CEO of the company,” he said.
Social media reacts
A social media storm, meanwhile, has erupted on websites such as Twitter about some of the Cell C CEO’s comments.
On Tuesday afternoon, the term “Cell C CEO” started trending on Twitter in South Africa, meaning that high volumes of Twitter users where talking about his comments.
“At least the rest of the world now know what a superficial, chauvinistic jackass the Cell C CEO is,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another Twitter user wrote: “Cell C CEO, what a mess.”
Cell C had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.
Cell C is South Africa’s third largest mobile network after Vodacom and MTN with over 22m subscribers.