I’m leaving on my own terms, says outgoing DiData CEO
Grant Bodley, outgoing CEO of Dimension Data (DiData) Middle East and Africa (MEA), says he is leaving the company “on his own terms”.
This week, the technology company announced that Bodley had resigned from his role as CEO and will be replaced by COO Werner Kapp.
Yesterday, ITWeb had a video call with Bodley and Werner as the former hands over the reins to the new office bearer.
Bodley will stay on beyond 31 March for a few months to work more closely with Kapp and ensure a smooth transition.
The leadership change at the NTT-owned company comes after the systems integrator announced it was bringing its four business units of Dimension Data, ContinuitySA, Internet Solutions and Britehouse to operate under a single entity – Dimension Data.
The long-serving Bodley has been with DiData for over 20 years, six of these as the CEO.
“I am grateful that after 20 years, I can leave on my own terms with many fond memories and great friendships,” Bodley says.
He notes that it was strange that some in the industry were eager to find out why he was leaving the company.
“Everyone seems to try and find out why I am leaving. ‘Is there any funny story?’ ‘Why is he leaving?’ The reality is there is none of it. I had incredible earnings of 21 years, six years as a CEO, and I just feel that the timing is right for the next phase of our growth. I think anyone who stays for too long as a CEO often becomes stale, so fresh energy is always great for business.
“The fact that someone like myself can leave on my own terms, when I feel that the time is right – for me, it’s a sign that the business is in a good place.”
Bodley believes he has been quite fortunate to be given lots of opportunities from a young age. “I took over as CEO as a 40-year-old, which was a young age, but I had the full support of the board, shareholders and other key stakeholders, and this made my life a lot easier.”
Pulling the trigger
When looking back at the past six years of his career, Bodley says probably the most significant achievement was the bringing together of all the brands into one fold.
“That was a massive undertaking and something that had been debated on for many years. Being able to finally pull the trigger to bring all these brands into one brand, as a single Dimension Data entity, is something that will leave the company in good standing.”
According to Bodley, the consolidation has been well received by clients: “I think it puts us in a very good standing to be able to continue to grow and take advantage of market opportunities.
“I would like to think that, as a person and as a leader, I will be remembered for taking a huge amount of my time with people – helping people, mentoring people, guiding them and trying to make a difference in society,” he says.
Another highlight for Bodley is being able to grow the company’s footprint in regions like the Middle East and East Africa.
“For me, the fact that we have someone as capable as Werner to take over is a lot easier – someone who knows the business incredibly well, as opposed to someone from outside.
“It was a very easy decision for the board and the shareholder to appoint Werner and it also talks to our succession planning and the quality of talent that we have in our business. So I am just grateful and happy that I leave as DiData’s biggest fan and feel just blessed for the opportunities that I have been given.”
On his future plans, Bodley says: “It’s absolutely to do nothing for the next two months but spend time with my family and then see what the world has to offer. So I am not going anywhere; I am not going to another job, but going to reinvigorate myself.”
Completing the journey
Meanwhile, for Kapp, also a 20-year-old DiData veteran, the number one priority as new CEO is to forge ahead with the “One Dimension Data” strategy.
Kapp started in the IT industry in the mid-1990s and joined Dimension Data in 2000, in its services division. He was responsible for the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng regions. Over that time and in these roles, he gained vast experience in client, revenue and people management.
“The number one priority is to complete the process of the One Dimension Data strategy. When we announced the strategy about nine months ago, we mentioned that there are various stages of doing something like that.”
According to Kapp, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done around that area.
“So it’s about completing that journey and making sure that One Dimension Data can deliver on the promise to our clients, staff and our shareholders. So far, we are about 40% there, so my number one priority is to ensure that we will be able to deliver the promise of One DiData.”
Having been part of the team that strategised and operationalised the One Dimension Data concept, Kapp says he will be ideally suited to execute that strategy.
“Grant had a good track record on diversity and being relevant locally, and I would want to continue that,” he says.
The other priority is to grow the business, Kapp notes. “I think we have stood the test of time relatively well during the pandemic. You can call it a combination of luck and planning because we conceived the idea of One DD before 2020, which was such a tough time in most markets. So we have done fairly well during this period.”