KFC Africa appoints first black female General Manager for the continent
A professional in retail franchises, Akhona Qengqe, becomes the first African woman to lead KFC on the continent from 01 April 2023 as General Manager. During her career she has served as the chair of the Board of the Franchise Association of South Africa.
She started with KFC in Africa in 2015 as Development Director, after which she was promoted to lead the brand’s Equity, Inclusion and Belonging agenda, before her promotion to Chief People Officer for KFC Africa in 2020 and more recently, as Chief Development Officer.
“Akhona has spent the better part of her eight years at KFC as an intrinsic part of the KFC leadership team in Africa and has worked closely with former General Manager, Dhruv Kaul and the team to ensure sustainability of the business but also, growth of local female talent. In fact, she has been instrumental in the team achieving diverse talent, with the Africa L12+ leader population now transformed at 50% women,” said Sabir Sami, KFC’s Global Chief Executive.
She has helped the KFC business navigate a disruptive pandemic which impacted not only business but also staff from a wellness and workplace perspective – a job she managed with humility, empathy and efficiency. More than this, Akhona has been central to the business’s development programmes – enabling a heart-led, high-performing people culture. Further to this, Akhona is a spearhead for the KFC Add Hope programme and an advocate for creating access to nutritious meals for the poor.
“Akhona has been central to the development and success of KFC Africa’s equality programmes, taking them to new heights both on the local front and globally,” said Sami.
As a fierce advocate for gender parity and female empowerment, Akhona conceptualised and launched KFC Africa’s Women on the Move programme in 2021 as a transformative 12-month programme to equip women with tools and resources that will help them develop their innate leadership qualities.
“This role really is a dream come true, a continuation of a journey where I often times did not know where it would lead but trusted that as long as I owned the seat I was given at the table with intentionality, rigour and determination, the rest would take care of itself. As someone who grew up in the rural parts of the Eastern Cape, having faced many similar challenges like the majority of women in our country, being able to fill this role and represent others that look like me, is what gives real meaning and purpose for me,” replied Akhona.