EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW: Mardia van der Walt, SVP, Deutsche Telekom ICSS
29 October 2015 |
The new SVP of Deutsche Telekom ICSS Mardia van der Walt-Korsten talks to Capacity about her career and the challenge of moving to wholesale.
Mardia van der Walt took her new position as SVP of Deutsche Telekom ICSS in early September. She took over duties from Martin Schlieker, SVP of global network factory, who served in an interim capacity following the departure of Holger Magnussen in May 2015.
Van der Walt comes from a strong background in IT solutions and outsourcing, having previously served as CEO of Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Systems South Africa. During her tenure in South Africa, van der Walt-Korsten took the company from twelfth to leadership position in the competitive South African IT sector.
“After four years, we grew to number one in the market. It was a challenge. When we started, TE Systems was not established in the South African market like Deutsche Telekom is in Europe,” she reflects. “The highlight of my time there was selling major IT outsourcing deals and establishing the company as a key player.”
At the start of the year, van der Walt emigrated with her family from South Africa to Bonn, Germany, to take over as project lead for the post-merger integration of GTS Central Europe. “The integration in Czech Republic was already complete when I took over. I oversaw the integration of Hungary this year, and Romania is still to go,” she explains. “I think it has strengthened the group’s presence in eastern Europe, where we can now offer fixed and mobile.”
Since September, van der Walt has been acclimatising to her new career in wholesale. “I bring a sales and customer focus with my experience in the enterprise and business-to-business space,” she says. “In my previous role [in South Africa], the focus was on creating a sales focussed organisation in order to sell outsourcing deals.”
She is looking forward to the challenge of bringing new ways of thinking and doing business in a traditional industry. “We will have to find ways to reinvent ourselves and manage the cost and pricing pressures. And discover ways of offering different kinds of solutions,” she says. “International wholesale is a very dynamic business and it’s wonderful to be entering this role during such challenging times. I am very excited to be working with my team in this industry environment to help prepare and position Deutsche Telekom’s ICSS for the future.”
Having already met a number of Deutsche Telkom ICSS partners and customers, van der Walt hopes to use Capacity Europe as an opportunity to meet more key players in the industry.
“My main priorities are also to finalise a new roadmap and strategy for ICCS,” says van der Walt. “Everything lies in the execution of strategy. A strategy doesn’t need to be radically different, but it needs to be executed accurately. And sometimes it is fundamental issues that we just need to get done.”
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