Liquid Telecom’s recent appointment reaffirms their strategic shift to become services company

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Liquid Telecom is shifting its strategy – that much is clear. Their interim CEO Craig van Rooyen put it plainly last month;

We have to do things a lot differently, and move away from our reliance on the telco business (which is heavy on infrastructure spending)… Through cloud and software-defined services and systems, you can orchestrate solutions for customers very quickly. But the whole way of working in Liquid has to change

Craig van Rooyen

In fact, they’ve already made progress. 60% of Liquid’s order intake is now made up of digital products with 40% being telco related services. With Liquid’s CEO suggesting they have to change their way of doing things, what’s one way they can get that right? Hiring the right people who understand what they are trying to achieve is definitely a good place to start.

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It seems Liquid is also on the right path in regards to hiring too, as the recent hire of Clayton Naidoo is in line with everything else the company has been saying.

Naidoo will start his stint as Liquid Telecom’s Group Chief Business Officer in October. From the press release sent out by Liquid, Naidoo will be responsible for “driving growth, innovation and strategy in the enterprise market”.

Why is Naidoo an ideal hire?

Clayton is coming from Cisco where he was the General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. For the unitiated, Cisco is a multinational tech company that manufactures and sells networking hardware, software, telecoms equipment and other tech services and products. Sounds pretty similar to what Liquid is attempting to do.

Essentially, Liquid has taken an executive from a company that was already selling services to enterprise companies across the continent so that he can lead their push to sell to enterprise customers on the continent.

A colleague of mine shared the following message after the appointment;

Fact that Naidoo was in charge of pushing Cisco across the continent probably makes him an ideal hire. Cisco really is an enterprise company and ability to sell on the continent in 31 countries is also a big skill advantage.

Naidoo understands the complexities of selling to enterprise and moreso in the African context. Who better to hire than someone who was already selling to enterprise businesses on the continent?


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  • Liquid built infrastructure in order to be able to have a good distribution network for internet based services. I think if you also look at Econet, that is what they have also been trying to do, to use infrastructure to distribute internet based services. It's where there is real growth in the future. The Econet network had become a carrier or a channel for Ecocash. And Ecocash was now the cash cow. It's interesting to see how it plays out in 5 years and how their growth will be.

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Farai Mudzingwa

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