How to become a CEO in South Africa?

Being a chief executive officer (CEO) is one of the most prestigious and coveted positions in the workplace. CEOs usually command a higher salary than everyone else and are the ones responsible for the direction of the company. This is a guide on how to become a CEO in South Africa.

What is a CEO

A chief executive officer is the highest-ranking individual in a company or organization and is responsible for the success and performance of the business. All other executives report directly to the CEO which in turn reports to the board of directors.

CEOs are the leaders of the company and they make the final decisions on which direction the company should take. Being a CEO is not easy and means that your life will be mostly centred around work.

Becoming a CEO by starting your own business

This is the easiest and quickest way to become a CEO, register your own business and appoint yourself as CEO. Registering your own business only costs R175, this is a strategy that has been used by the greatest CEOs in the world. Almost all the famous tech CEOs started their company from scratch.

Starting your own company is harder than being an employee, this is where you get to feel first-hand the pressures of being a CEO. Being a CEO of a star-up company is way different from being a CEO of an already successful company.

As the CEO of an established company, you only have to work on the direction of the company and won’t face much financial pressure. You will also likely have a huge team under your command. Being a CEO of a start-up means that you don’t have enough resources and an army of employees.

A CEO of a start-up company has to take on multiple roles, you have to be an accountant, graphic designer, sales consultant, support and everything else. Although this is the quickest way to become a CEO, it’s not the easiest if you are looking to become a successful CEO.

Becoming CEO by climbing the corporate ladder

Becoming a CEO by climbing the corporate ladder is not easy at all, you will face fierce competition along the way. Things get heated the higher up the ladder you go, the workplace suddenly turns political, it seems like a battleground. There is a lot of plotting, and some people even kill the people they’re competing with for the coveted CEO position.

This path requires you to be extremely hard working and you should also have leadership qualities and great ambition with a touch of cunning. You will need to be cunning and ruthless when you get to the very top, usually the C-executive, that’s when you are really close to becoming CEO and will face competition from the other C-executives.


This is a guide on how to become a CEO in South Africa, being CEO is a lot of hard work and the vast majority of people will not get to be CEOs. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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