New MD for T-Systems SA

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Global outsourcing company T-Systems has promoted the head of its South African operations, Mardia van der Walt-Korsten, to head up its newly-formed Africa region.

The company said in a statement this morning that the South African operation will be led by VP of sales, Gert Schoonbee, from next month. Schoonbee has been with the company for more than a decade, while Van der Walt-Korsten has been with the local unit for 14 years, six of which as MD.

T-Systems is a division of German-based Deutsche Telekom. It has offices in 20 countries and more than 48 000 staff globally. The group turned over EUR9.2 billion in the 2010 financial year.

Baby steps

The company has now expanded its regional approach to include a specific Africa and Middle East region separate to the previous Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operation. Van der Walt-Korsten explains T-Systems will follow a customer-focused approach and carefully select territories into which to expand.

Van der Walt-Korsten says the company will do a detailed analysis of its customers that are moving into Africa, growth economies, possible partnerships, and determine carefully selected new territories.

Van der Walt-Korsten will be based in Midrand and will mostly be responsible for exploring opportunities for growth in Africa. She will also chair the T-Systems SA board.

Defend and grow

However, SA will remain the “crown jewel” in the region for quite some time, says Van der Walt-Korsten.

Schoonbee says, while Africa is important, T-Systems will take a careful approach to expansion and will not lose sight of the South African market. He explains a separate office will be set up so that the company can remain 100% focused on SA, and defend and grow its market share.

Schoonbee's first priority will be to ensure customer retention, which will require innovation and market-making initiatives, he says.

T-Systems SA recently inked a R2.58 billion outsourcing deal with Old Mutual.

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