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Vertiv expands African workforce as business grows

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 23 Nov 2023
Karsten Winther, president of Vertiv Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Karsten Winther, president of Vertiv Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Over the past year-and-a-half, Vertiv has expanded its workforce across Africa, as it identifies growth opportunities on the continent.

This was the word from Karsten Winther, president of Vertiv Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), speaking this week at the Vertiv Driving Innovation 2023:The Prefabricated Modular Revolution EMEA press conference, in Zagreb, Croatia.

According to Winther, the company has added over 500 new EMEA-based employees in this time and plans to continue expanding its staff complement in several regions − including Africa, Milan, Madrid, Warsaw and Norway.

Vertiv is an American multinational provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions. Headquartered in Ohio, it has over 27 000 employees worldwide, with operations in more than 130 countries, and 23 manufacturing and assembly facilities globally.

It provides data centre services and solutions; communication networks; and commercial and industrial services across industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, rail/mass transit, power generation, and oil and gas.

“The need for land and power is prompting us to expand to other cities and regions. So, we are adding employees throughout our entire value chain pretty much almost everywhere, but it's very specific by country.

“At this moment, expansion is determined by where our current clients are going, as well as where the current infrastructure may not suffice the future market demands. There are specific regions which we have identified, globally, that have been a little bit behind in development by nature,” explained Winther.

“Africa as a continent is one such example, which has 54 countries that are now getting up to speed with digitalisation. We have spent a year-and-a-half specifically investing in capabilities there because we're not only seeing our clients increasing their investments in infrastructure on the continent, but we're also seeing a sheer demand for infrastructure and more data creation in Africa, as more people are being connected to the internet. So that is an interesting element where we are growing our footprint.”

While he did not specify how many more employees the company is looking to add in Africa, he pointed out Vertiv has nine manufacturing and assembly locations in EMEA and over 65 service centres and five customer experience labs.

In terms of workforce in the region, it has over 650 service field engineers and 1 000 technical support/response team members.

This year, the company opened new offices in Nigeria and SA. A new factory was established in United Arab Emirates and a new testing room in Italy.

Its customers across the globe include Alibaba, Alstom, America Movil, AT&T, China Mobile, Equinix, Ericsson, Reliance, Siemens, Telefonica, Tencent, Verizon and Vodafone.

Winther identified areas where Vertiv has had to add new capability and talent, including sales, project management, deployment commissions and pre-service engineering divisions. This is across several verticals, including power, cooling and IT infrastructure solutions and services that extend from the cloud to the edge of the network, he noted.

“The investments we have made in research and development have been increasing significantly and this has created the need for more people. We have spent a lot of time and we will continue in the future to develop our infrastructure across EMEA.”

Vertiv is expanding its operations in Norway to support co-location provider Green Mountain’s growth in Northern Europe.

Vertiv has deployed a 150MW renewable energy-fuelled and grid-interactive data centre – a strategic move which has seen it add a staff complement of a few hundred, who will specifically focus on this project, Winther stated.