New Sasol CEO to drive South African firm’s emissions plan

EVP of Energy Operations and Technology, Simon Bayoli, will lead Sasol into a more sustainable future
Sasol has selected Simon Baloyi to lead the South African petrochemical giant through its ambitious emissions plan. Bayoli will take the helm in April

As the second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in South Africa, and the world’s largest producer of liquid fuels and chemicals from coal, Sasol has much work to do on the sustainability front.

The company, which is South Africa’s biggest by revenue, with operations in 33 countries and more than 30,000 employees, is regularly criticised by activists and environmentalists for not doing enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

Even this week, climate protesters stormed the stage during Sasol’s AGM, with executives abandoning efforts to continue the meeting.

Sasol has targeted a 30% reduction in emission by 2030 and net zero by 2050, but investors have objections.

While meeting 98% of its minimum emissions standards, according to CEO Fleetwood Grobler, Sasol is struggling to reduce its sulphur dioxide emissions. Sasol’s operations at Secunda, where it produces synthetic fuels and chemicals, is frequently described as the single biggest emissions point on the planet.

As Grobler told Reuters: “The one that we’re very clear on which we don’t meet by 2025 is our SO2 emissions.”

Sasol has invested more than R7 billion over the past five years to reduce emissions and has achieved 98% compliance with MES at its operations. Among plans, the Sandton-based conglomerate has indicated replacing some coal with natural gas, addressing operational issues, and testing the manufacture of green hydrogen.

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While current CEO Grobler has so led the conglomerate’s emissions plan, putting the company “on track to be more resilient, and live up to our purpose of innovating for a better world”, according to Sasol chair Stephen Westwell – the EVP of Energy Operations and Technology, Simon Baloyi, is set to drive this ambitious strategy forward.

This week, it was announced Baloyi will succeed Grobler as CEO, effective 1 April 2024, with Grobler continuing with the company as executive advisor until 31 December 2024, to ensure a seamless handover.

This replacement of CEO is no surprise, with Sasol announcing back in March plans to find a successor for Grobler, whose term of running Sasol ends in 2024.

Grobler, who has spent 40 years at Sasol working within most of its operating facilities, took the reins of Sasol in 2019 – and in September 2022, announced the conglomerate’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. In doing so, he tripled Sasol’s 2030 scope 1 and 2 GHG reduction target from 10% to 30%, for Energy and Chemicals.

CEO since 2019, Fleetwood Grobler has been with Sasol for 40 years and will retire in 2024

Baloyi to drive sustainable operations

Selected from a list of both internal and external candidates, Baloyi has served in various management positions since joining Sasol as a process engineer more than 20 years ago – most recently as EVP Energy Operations and Technology since 2022,

He is described by the Board as having a “strategic outlook, excellent leadership skills, technical and business acumen and deep experience of our operations". 

In a statement, the board said: “Sasol is on track to be a more resilient and market-focused enterprise. We have made excellent strides in our commitment to be a lower carbon intensive business in the future, enhancing our stakeholder value proposition and living up to our purpose of innovating for a better the world.


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