Executives come and go at any large corporate, but when the organisation in question is South Africa’s mobile phone giant Vodacom – and when it loses two high-ranking executives in a single month – it’s only fair to ask what’s going on.
Deon Liebenberg – Managing Executive of the Internet of Things (IoT), and Tony Smallwood – Executive head IoT Solutions, who both has led IoT team at Vodacom have left just as the company begins to ramp up its IoT solutions.
Liebenberg leaves after two years of serving as an IoT Executive with the company to pursue new opportunities in Australia. For more read: Vodacom exec leaves for Australian ventures
Liebenberg who will officially be leaving Vodacom end of this month will be joining a company in Australia.
Were the moves by Liebenberg and Smallwood simply a natural progression or a sign of something bigger in the works?
Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy, in an e-mail, told TechFinancials that “it wouldn’t be correct to say that Smallwood has left Vodacom”.
He said Smallwood has joined XLink Communications, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vodacom that specialises in IoT.
“IoT remains an important growth driver for the Vodacom Group. As we announced previously, Deon Liebenberg vacates his position at the end of June to pursue a career in Australia,” he said.
Kennedy added that the newly appointed Chief Officer of Vodacom Business, William Mzimba, will fill Liebenberg’s role in the interim until a successor is appointed.
Smallwood is one of South Africa’s best known experts on IoT, having been in the ICT
industry for more than 20 years – predominantly in customer facing roles. He has experience in fixed line, mobile and cloud computing disciplines.
Smallwood and Liebengberg have played a critical role in the establishment and growth of Vodacom IoT division.
Vodacom IoT divisions generates more than R1 billion in revenues.
Last month, Vodacom announced that its IoT division has more than 3.6 million connections to its IoT platform, reflecting a massive 21.8% increase in the year to end-March 2018 versus the same period in the previous year.
The Vodafone-owned company said that its IoT division added 649 000 new connections in 2018 financial year.
Now the IoT division reports to Mzimba, who reports directly to the Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub.
Mzimba replaced Vuyani Jarana, who joined SAA as CEO.
Mzimba joined Vodacom from May 1 from Accenture where he held the position of Chief Executive and Chairman of Accenture in Africa since 2006.
He is responsible for Vodacom’s enterprise units in Africa and leads a team tasked with driving digital transformation in targeted industries and markets. For more read: Vodacom Business Taps Ex-Accenture Africa CE William Mzimba as Chief Officer.