Absa CIO Jacques Barkhuizen switches to Vodacom

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Jacques Barkhuizen will start his role as Vodacom CIO on 1 October.
Jacques Barkhuizen will start his role as Vodacom CIO on 1 October.

Former Absa chief information officer (CIO) Jacques Barkhuizen has been appointed Vodacom’s CIO and managing executive for digital.

Barkhuizen, who won the Institute of Information Technology Professionals SA Visionary CIO of the Year Award in 2018, confirmed the move to ITWeb yesterday.

He will start his new role at Vodacom on 1 October.

Barkhuizen’s career of over 28 years includes serving as CIO of Deloitte Africa, global chief technology officer of Investec Bank and CTO of Woolworths.

At Absa, he led the bank’s retail digital transformation journey and was instrumental in the step change across all digital channels, including chat banking on WhatsApp.

The appointment comes when Vodacom, SA’s biggest mobile network operator, is looking to “disrupt through technology while delivering world-class digital solutions”.

Last month, the mobile operator entered the digital payments market following a partnership with Mastercard.

Vodacom currently has Willie Stegmann as group CIO and Andries Delport as chief technology officer.

Reflecting on his achievements at Absa, Barkhuizen says: “Over the last five years, we have built a world-class digital capability that is capable of knocking anything out the ballpark.

“We have also delivered a number of world firsts; to name a few: chat banking on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. We also had the first banking app to make use of artificial intelligence to switch beneficiaries from one bank to another, and the first bank in Africa to integrate the Apple Watch into the mobile banking application.”

On switching from the banking to telecommunications sector, he says: “I am very comfortable switching between different industries. I think my track record is proof of that. I see moving into the telco space as a natural next step for me.”

Vodacom’s competitor MTN recently appointed Yolanda Cuba as group chief digital and fintech officer to drive the strategic expansion of the company’s financial services and digital solutions efforts and transformation into a digital operator.

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