Women managers defend 'sexist' Cell C CEO - TechCentral

Women managers defend ‘sexist’ Cell C CEO

Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos

Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos

A statement from the “top female management at Cell C” on Wednesday came to the defence of the mobile operator’s CEO, Jose Dos Santos, who was blasted on social media over comments he made on an online radio station in a recent interview.

Dos Santos came under particular fire for using the term “bitch-switch” and for remarks about female employees, with many social media users lambasting him as sexist.

“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 with Cliff Central.

In the interview, he explained how Cell C hires participants in the Miss South Africa contest, offering them 12-month internships.

“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 interview.

Cell C women managers have now come to his defence.

“There have been moments in all our lives when we have said or done something we regret. For some, the consequences were difficult to swallow, while others escaped with a mere reminder to do better tomorrow,” the women said in the statement, which is unsigned.

The statement was issued by Cell C’s media communications team. A spokeswoman for the company said it was signed by 40 women managers who met on Wednesday morning to discuss the situation.

“Yesterday’s media and social media outcry at what our CEO, Jose Dos Santos, said during an interview, prompted our response to this matter,” the statement said.

“As the top female management team of Cell C, we agree that his choice of words on a specific matter was not appropriate. However, what we know is that the public outrage he is facing for that regrettable choice of words has far outweighed what he has done for every employee in this company, particularly women,” it continued.

“We believe in ourselves collectively as a team of highly skilled and highly capable women and we are rightly recognised as such in this company. What we know is that we have all had far more opportunities to shine and be our best under his leadership. If this was not the case, we would not be here.

“Too often people stand by and allow things to happen to good people, and while we know we might face some criticism for our decision to stand beside our CEO, we as women in leadership positions at Cell C cannot allow someone to be solely judged for one unfortunate comment, while what he has done to empower women, both within and outside the company, goes unnoticed.”  — © 2016 NewsCentral Media


  1. Ooooh, an unsigned statement…what an impact that makes :/
    “For some, the consequences were difficult to swallow” – I bet…

  2. Greg Mahlknecht on

    > Cell C’s representation of women among its staff has increased from around 40% to over 60% since he joined the company in 2012

    > … what he has done for every employee in this company, particularly women,”

    Sounds like it’s not the women who should be claiming sexist practices, but the men. This is a clear and obvious case of gender discrimination against them 🙂

  3. In the end he knows precious little about PR if he talks like that in a professional capacity. But yeah… Maybe he just doesn’t care since he is on the way out – Wasn’t that the original story?

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