The Bidvest [JSE:BVT] board announced on Monday that it was appointing Mpumi Madisa, 39, as its "chief executive-designate" to take over the company in the 2021 financial year.
The group said this announcement was consistent with its succession plan.
Lindsay Ralphs will continue as group chief executive until Madisa takes over.
In a notice to shareholders, Bidvest said Madisa would work closely with Ralphs "to ensure a smooth transition."
Bidvest said Madisa joined the services, trading, and distribution company in 2003 and has held "several key and strategic leadership roles at subsidiary, divisional and group level".
She is an executive director on the Bidvest group board and holds other external non-executive director roles, including at Adcock Ingram and Business Leadership SA.
According to Bidvest's website, Madisa is 39 years old. If she takes over running the company in 2021, she would be one of youngest chief executives at a JSE-listed company.
Ralphs, 64, said in a statement that one of the group's key priorities was "developing the next generation of leaders".
"Her exceptional leadership skills and depth of experience will ensure continuity for all Bidvest stakeholders and the Bidvest family," he said.
The company earlier reported a 10% increase in headline earnings to R2.1bn, and a 6.3% increase in trading profits to R3.3bn, in preliminary and unaudited results of the half-year to December 31, 2018.