SAP Names First Female Managing Director for Africa

Global enterprise software leader SAP has appointed its first female Managing Director to oversee Africa. Cathy Smith, who was previously Managing Director for Africa at Cisco, is taking over from acting MD Claas Kuehnemann, who moved on to SAP in Switzerland.

Steve Tzikakis, regional president for EMEA South at SAP, said in a statement that Smith was joining 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. “As one of the foremost experts in driving digital transformation on the continent, Cathy is imminently suited to leading our Africa operations. We have great confidence in her ability to realize our innovation vision across our customer base.”

Smith joins SAP from Cisco, where she was managing director for Sub-Saharan Africa, leading the development and execution of the company’s go-to-market sales and digital transformation strategies for the region. 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 globalization with local visions of a sustainable society.

Smith has 25 years of IT experience and was responsible for developing Cisco’s go-to-market sales and digital transformation businesses in Africa. She joined Cisco after 23 years at IBM. She is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, a program launched in 2001 that brings together the Aspen Institute and various other leadership initiatives.