Chief Executive Officer

Duke CE welcomed Sharmla Chetty as its new Chief Executive Officer in October 2021. Prior to her appointment as CEO, Chetty served as President of Global Markets, North America, Europe & UK, Asia, and Africa, at Duke CE since 2019. In that role, Chetty drove strategic alignment for the organization globally and operations for its regional practices around the world.

Chetty is a visionary driven by one purpose – transforming organizations and society through leadership. She is passionate about achieving sustainable outcomes in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). Her areas of ongoing research include board leadership, the future of work, humanity and technology and people practices and processes.

She has a proven track record of driving transformation through leadership, with deep local experience in a range of industries including financial services, healthcare, mining, energy, and manufacturing from working with clients in 80 countries.

Enlisting her global team, she engages in every market to build resilient business disciplines and networks to drive change with leaders in industry, key political stakeholders, community leaders, academic institutions and consulting partners. She also focuses on developing business growth plans by studying economic trends and revenue opportunities and analyzing organization operations; identifying opportunities for improvement, optimization and systems enhancement.

Sharmla is a strategic advisor to board and c-suite leaders, coaching senior executives on how to grow their revenues and profits; implement effective strategies; shift culture, build accountability systems and elevate performance.

Sharmla founded the South Africa office for Duke CE in 2007 and grew it into the preeminent custom executive education provider on the continent. Prior to joining Duke CE, she was Head of Human Capital Development at Nedbank for over 19 years, where she focused on building the next-generation leadership pipeline. She is a former board trustee for the AVI Group of black shares scheme and Chairperson of the BCG Development Trust, and currently a member of the Advisory Board the Thabo Mbeki African School for Public and International Affairs (TM-SCHOOL) at the University of South Africa, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. As part of an Aspen fellowship programme, she implemented the Women Leading Africa Board Programme building Pan-African bench strength for women serving on board positions for Africa.

Sharmla was a finalist for Business Woman of the Year Award in 2016 for Education and recipient of the 2016 Award for Entrepreneurial and Academic Excellence on the African Continent. With her deep commitment to build leadership for a better world , she led Duke CE in hosting The Davos of Human Capital event in 2020, convening global CEOs and CHROs and thousands of participants to discuss how leadership can be the force multiplier for positive change in business and society. In 2019, she also founded #MillionYoungMinds, a live stream with Sophia the Robot to one million South African youth on the topic of artificial intelligence and its impact on the future of South Africa. She is a founding member of a mentoring circle designed to mentor and coach South African youth.

Sharmla obtained her MBA from Henley Management Business School in the UK and a Masters in Management and Executive Coaching from Wits Business School. Sharmla studied at Johannesburg University and holds a qualification in Human Resources Development and a Masters Certificate in Training and Development.

Thought Leadership and News

Generation Generative – Duke CE Dialogue, March 2024
6 Leadership Principles for Transitioning into an ESG World – BusinessChief, January 2024
Developing the Green CEO Generation – BusinessChief Middle East & Africa, January 2024
Powerful Voices – Duke CE Dialogue, March 2023
The Power of G-force – Duke CE Dialogue, February 2023
Big Tech’s Labour of Love – Duke CE Dialogue, December 2022
From the Top – Duke CE Dialogue, November 2022
Where Women Win – Duke CE Dialogue, November 2022
Sweet Solutions to Wicked Problems – Duke CE Dialogue, August 2022
Leaders Hold the World in their Hands – Duke CE Dialogue, May 2022
Future Fantastic – Duke CE Dialogue, February 2022
Born to Make a Difference – Duke CE Dialogue, December 2021
Cutting through the Fog – Duke CE Dialogue, September 2021
Leadership for a Better World – Duke CE Dialogue, March 2021
Get Remote Ready – Duke CE Dialogue, June 2020
Dialogue TV: Executive Education Fit for Disruption – Duke CE Dialogue TV, May 2020
Diversity Alone is Insufficient – Duke CE Dialogue, March 2020
How Executive Education Must Evolve in the Digital Era – Duke CE Dialogue, December 2019
The Imperative for Human-Centered Leadership in South Africa – IT News Africa, June 2019
The Future Just Arrived, But Is South Africa Ready? – Cape Times, June 2019
People Are at the Heart of Digitized HR – Duke CE Dialogue, May 2019
Overcoming Adversity as a Female Leader – Duke CE Dialogue, March 2019
How the MTN Group is Grappling with Uncertainty – Duke CE Dialogue, September 2018