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Microsoft appoints Lillian Barnard as African president

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Microsoft has appointed South African Managing Director Lillian Barnard as the firm's new African president.

Kalane Rampai will take over Barnard's position and will help strengthen the country's role as a key contributor to Africa's growth through digital innovation, the company said in a statement.

"The new appointments are an important milestone in Microsoft's ongoing effort to drive impact in Africa at scale," said Microsoft.

"During the past three decades, Microsoft has invested heavily in skilling and capacity-building to catapult African digital economies into the future," the company said.

"More than 4 million young people across Africa have been upskilled over the last five years through various skilling and employability programs, with a further commitment from Microsoft to train and certify at least 1 million women across Africa by June 2025," the tech giant explained.

Newly appointed Microsoft South Africa Managing Director Kalane Rampai will take over from Lillian Barnard. (Source: Microsoft Africa)
Newly appointed Microsoft South Africa Managing Director Kalane Rampai will take over from Lillian Barnard. (Source: Microsoft Africa)

Barnard replaced Zoaib Hoosen as Microsoft South Africa's managing director in 2019, when Hoosen resigned after nearly five years at the helm of the local operation.

Before joining Microsoft, the new Africa president served as chief sales officer at Vodacom and worked for IBM for 15 years, seven of which were at the European headquarters in France and Switzerland.

Barnard also served on the boards of Vodacom South Africa, Mango Airlines and the Dad-fund non-profit organization.

Microsoft adapting and changing

Barnard said African organizations of all sizes, across every sector, pivot and adapt to changing business and customer needs.

These businesses are looking for partners that can accelerate their agility, flexibility and competitiveness, while also cutting costs and driving efficiencies.

"I am deeply passionate about unlocking the potential for growth using technology to deliver real impact for businesses, communities and economies across the continent," she added.

"Microsoft is fully committed to Africa's digital future, creating opportunities, empowering individuals and businesses, and driving job growth that will benefit the entire region," commented Samer Abu-Ltaif, Microsoft's corporate VP and president of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

"For decades, we have worked tirelessly with governments and organizations across the continent to unlock opportunities for growth and innovation, and the appointments of Barnard and Rampai represent a significant milestone in this journey," he explained.

"With Lillian and Kalane at the helm of our regional and local operations, respectively, we are confident that Microsoft will continue to play a pivotal role in Africa's economic growth and success," he concluded.

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*Top image is of newly appointed Microsoft Africa President Lillian Barnard. (Source: Microsoft Africa).

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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