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Cell chief backtracks on 'b*tch switch' comments, claims comments out of context

Cell C CEO Jose dos Santos says his comments about “women in the workplace” have been taken out of context.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - "The subscriber you have dialled is unavailable."

Cell C Chief Executive Officer Jose dos Santos was probably stuck in crisis meetings this afternoon but he clearly got the message hundreds of unimpressed people, mostly women, left him on social media networks.

Dos Santos says his choice of words about " women in the workplace" (made during an interview on CliffCentral) have been taken out of context.

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, he says he's "saddened that his stance has been taken out of context".

During a recent interview on CliffCentral's Leadership Platform, Dos Santos said he was pro women empowerment and wanted a woman to take over his position when he stepped down.

The CEO said gorgeous women were good for the company because the men dressed better and they shaved every morning.

He also said: "You know women do have a bitch switch, and boy, if you see two women fighting it is worse than two men."

LISTEN: Dos Santos on women empowerment.

In his statement, Dos Santos further said his comments were part of a broader interview about leadership.

"I regret my choice of words which I realise were offensive. I mentioned that in my experience, I have seen instances where women do not support each other to get to the top."

Earlier, he noted that African women had a higher tolerance level than men and that the company had employed good-looking, clever women.

"We have smart women, and that has created a different environment."

But now the CEO has changed his tune: "This has purely been my observation and perhaps one of several reasons why women are underrepresented in leadership positions."

He added that is why he's put a lot of effort and focus into the empowerment of all employees, but particularly women at Cell C.

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