Johannesburg — SAP Africa has announced the appointment of Cathy Smith as Managing Director, becoming the first female leader of the software company.
The appointment is with immediate effect.
Smith takes over from Claas Kuehnemann, who now assumes a new leadership position with SAP in Switzerland, but will continue to be a non-executive director on the SAP South Africa Board.
She brings more than 25 years of leadership and technology experience.
Steve Tzikakis, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) South at SAP, lauded Smith as an experienced and inspirational leader who joins the business at an exciting time in the continent's history.
"Africa is on the cusp of exponential growth and development enabled by digital technologies," Tzikakis said.
He said as one of the foremost experts in driving digital transformation on the continent, Smith is imminently suited to lead SAP Africa operations.
"We have great confidence in her ability to realise our innovation vision across our customer base."
Tzikakis said Smith's appointment also reaffirmed SAP's commitment to empowering women in leadership and was in line with the company's dedication to furthering South Africa's employment equity and transformation agenda.
She joins from Cisco, where she was Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Prior to that, she spent 23 years at IBM in a variety of leadership roles.
As a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, Smith is also committed to developing the next generation of value-based African leaders, capable of guiding and leading their countries, as they balance the demands of globalisation with local visions of a sustainable society.