Standard Bank’s Sharon Taylor is the 2023 CHRO of the Year


Exceptional South African HR professionals were honoured at the glamorous 2023 CHRO Awards.

Sharon Taylor, chief people and culture officer at Standard Bank, has been named South Africa’s CHRO of the Year, at a glittering gala dinner, which took place at the Polo Room, Inanda Club, Johannesburg on 14 November 2023.

Sharon was the big winner of the evening as she walked away with three accolades: the CHRO of the Year Award, the Learning & Development Award, and the HR & Technology Award.


The other big winner at the Oscars of HR was bp Southern Africa's HR director and director at ECM Markets SA Theo Motshabi, who also took a triple scoop of the awards, winning the Young CHRO of the Year Award, the Employee Value Proposition Award, and the Transformation & Empowerment Award.

At the gala dinner, which saw over 200 CHROs celebrate their peers, Sharon was recognised for her outstanding contribution in Standard Bank’s transition from a traditional financial institution to a versatile platform business, including the acquisition of Liberty Holdings. She helped to streamline the leadership team, aligning it with the new business lines and capabilities, enabling the CEO to focus on strategy, and spearheaded the organisational design changes across the entire group. She is particularly proud of her team’s delivery of an enterprise-wide HR technology and analytics landscape, which has received international recognition.

Theo’s leadership at bp SA, in his view and the views of his peers, is displayed through driving the delivery of innovative HR solutions with meaningful and sustainable business outcomes, such as a complete strategy overhaul, aligning HR priorities directly with business transformation needs ahead of the goal to achieve NetZero by 2050 or sooner. His standout achievements include managing multiple large-scale people transformations, and driving the business’s new strategic intent while maintaining sustainability with regards to both profitability and people practices.

Full list of CHRO Awards 2023 winners:

CHRO of the Year – Sharon Taylor, Standard Bank
Young CHRO of the Year - Theo Motshabi, bp Southern Africa
Strategy & Leadership - Malisha Awunor, EOH
Transformation & Empowerment - Theo Motshabi, bp Southern Africa
HR & Technology - Sharon Taylor, Standard Bank
Learning & Development - Sharon Taylor, Standard Bank
Talent Management - Sameera Mohamed, Microsoft SA
Employee Value Proposition - Theo Motshabi, bp Southern Africa

The annual CHRO Awards are organised by CHRO South Africa, the community that connects HR executives through executive events, the bi-annual CHRO Magazine, and social media channels. By helping top HR leaders share knowledge, exchange interests and open up business opportunities, CHRO South Africa proudly contributes to the growth of the country.

The awards were sponsored by Workday, Deloitte Africa, Mercer, GIBS, Sanlam and Momentum Corporate.

The CHRO of the Year Award was handed out by Kirenga Rwigema, Head of Customer Strategy & Value at Workday.

The Young CHRO of the Year Award was handed out by Keletjo Chiloane, Career Consulting, Mercer South Africa.

The Strategy and Leadership Award was handed out by Sthembiso Phakathi, Director, Deloitte Consulting.

The Transformation & Empowerment Award was handed out by Elanie Kruger, Chief People Officer, Tsebo Solutions.

The HR & Technology Award was handed by Nzwa Shoniwa, Managing Executive: Sanlam Umbrella Solutions.

The Learning & Development Award was handed by Hayley Pearson, Managing Executive: Academic Education, GIBS.

The Talent Management Award was handed by Enid Lizamore, HR Director, Heineken South Africa.

The Employee Value Proposition Award was handed by Qinisekile Dhlamini, Head: Business Development & Key Client Management, Momentum Corporate.

More on the other award winners:

Strategy & Leadership - Malisha Awunor, EOH

Malisha Awunor is the Human Resources Director at EOH, a position she has held since January 2020. Before that, she served as HR Director at BHBW. In partnership with the HR and technology team, she harnessed the power of technology to develop the “In My Shoes” programme, which uses virtual reality (VR) – which the WEF says can be “the ultimate empathy machine” – to approximate the lived experiences of others and to drive social cohesion. Malisha has also been the Group HR Manager at Coal of Africa, and HR Manager at Anglo American. She holds an MBA with a specialisation in Change Management and BEE from the Gordon Institute of Business Science and a Bachelor of Social Science Hons in Industrial and Organisational Psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Talent Management - Sameera Mohamed, Microsoft SA

Sameera Mohamed boasts a 14-year tenure at Microsoft. Commencing her journey in the HR operations team, she has navigated through roles such as people and organisational capability consultant, senior HR manager, and diversity and inclusion focal lead for MEA. In July 2021, she embraced her current position as HR director.

Sameera is most proud of how under her leadership her team was able to transition from a focus on licensing to embracing the power of cloud computing and digital technologies, and now at present, the organisation is fully immersed in the world of AI. She adds the move was beyond mere strategy but rather to be an organisation that empowered individuals to reach their full potential through the use of technology.

Before her Microsoft chapter, Sameera served as a recruitment consultant at T-Systems South Africa. Her academic background includes degrees in B.Soc.Sci, B.Comm Honors, and BA Honors from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The Awards are judged by the following esteemed panel of industry leaders and HR experts:

Abdullah Verachia
Founder & CEO at The Strategists

Caryn Baird
Group Org Dev and HC exec, Independent

James Ramakau
Manager: Talent & Sourcing, Anglo American

Jane Waters
COO, Allen & Overy

Moula Mokhobo-Amegashie
Managing partner, Drayton, Glendower & Mokhobo

Paul Norman

Raisibe Morati
CFO, Vodacom

Richard Sutton
Founder & CEO, Sutton Health

Dr Rozett (Roze) Phillips
NED, Faculty and African Futurist, GIBS

Shirley Zinn
Independent’s Non-Executive Director

Tswelo Kodisang
CHRO, First Rand

Tumelo Seaketso
Org Transformation, Deloitte

Vukani Mngxati
CEO, Accenture

Xolile Sizani
CEO, Nzuri Consulting



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