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CIO Colloquium 10 & 11 March 2011

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Guest Speakers and Participants

Len de Villiers, Group Chief Information Officer, ABSA Bank

Absa Group CIO Len de Villiers has 30 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career in 1978 in IT management positions at BP, Metro Cash and Carry and Gencor. He joined First National Bank as GM of IT in 1986, followed by 3 years as MD of Microdata and as an Executive Director at Datakor Holdings. In 1993 he joined the Nedbank Group as GM of Technology and Architecture and progressed to GM of Central and Branch Operations in 1996. De Villiers was appointed MD of Group Operations in 2003 and as MD of Nedbank Group Technology and Support Services (GTSS) in August 2004. GTSS is the centralised technology unit with responsibility for all components of Nedbank’s group technology, development and Shared Services support. De Villiers was a member of Nedbank’s Group Executive reporting to Tom Boardman and won several top achiever awards as well as the highest award in Nedbank (the CEO award in 1998).

De Villiers spent 15 years with Nedbank, left as the Group CIO and joined Absa Bank as Group CIO on 1 August 2008. Since joining Absa, De Villiers has crafted a 5 year Strategic Technology Plan for the Group articulating the technology plans and initiatives necessary to create and support the underlying Technology required for the new “One Absa” Strategy. De Villiers was voted in as “the most admired CIO in South Africa “ by the CIO Council of South Africa consisting of the top 100 CIO’s in the country in 2009.

Jacques van Niekerk, Chief Technology Officer, MIH

Jacques van Niekerk is the Chief Executive Officer at MIH SWAT, and the Chief Technical Officer for the MIH Internet Group, both divisions of the Naspers group. As CTO of MIH Internet, he is responsible for sharing technical knowledge amongst group companies, and for establishing MIH Internet as a career destination for world-class technologists. He is also responsible for the MIH MediaLab.

As CEO of MIH SWAT he manages a team with offices in Cape Town, Sao Paolo and New Delhi. SWAT provides strategic technical support to the global Internet business in the form of M&A assistance, software development, maintenance of the employee network, research and consulting. Jacques is a member of the Computer Science Advisory Boards for the University of Cape Town, and the University of Stellenbosch.


Prof Kobus Maree, Award Winning Academic and Researcher and Editor of SA Journal of Psychology

Prof Maree is editor of SA Journal of Psychology. A triple doctorate (DEd (Career Counselling; PhD (Didactics of Mathematics); DPhil (Psychology)), he is internationally recognised for his work in e.g. narrative career counselling. His research focuses on e.g. optimising the achievement of learners and providing cost- effective career facilitation to all persons. The author of more than 110 articles and 65 books/ book chapters, and a practising psychologist for over 19 years, he is regularly invited to read papers at national and international conferences, mostly in the field of Career counselling (with the emphasis on career construction counselling). Prof Maree's recent textbook on narrative Career counselling, Shaping the story: A guide to facilitating narrative career counselling (world-renowned authors and researchers such as Professors Mark Savickas (USA), Norm Amundson (Canada), Paul Hartung (USA), Charles Chen (Canada), Wendy Patton and Mary McMahon (Australia), Mark Watson (SA), John Winslade (USA), etc. as well as 42 other top experts in the field of Career Psychology contributed to this ground- breaking publication) was recently hailed as one of the three watershed publications in the field of Career Psychology over the past 100 years.

He was awarded the annual Education Association of South Africa (EASA) Medal for Exceptional Contributions to Education in 2004 and the Research Medal for Outstanding Research in January 2006 by EASA. He was a finalist in the National Science and Technology Forum Awards in 2006 (Category: Individual who has made outstanding contributions to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) in South Africa through research and its outputs over the last five years or less). He was again elected as a finalist in 2009 (in both Category C: Individual who has made outstanding contributions to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) in South Africa through research and its outputs over the last five years or less and Category K: Science communication for public awareness). He was awarded the Stals Prize (SA Academy of Science and Arts) for exceptional research and contributions to psychology in 2009. In 2007, he received the Exceptional Academic Achiever Award (UP) for a second term (2007-2009). He was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching and Learning for 2010 and the Exceptional Academic Achiever Award (UP) for a third term (2011-2013). Prof Maree was elected as a member of the South African Academy of Science and Arts (Akad.SA) in 2004 and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in 2006. He is a C1-rated researcher (NRF).

Dr Pete van Vuuren, Executive Partner, Gartner

Dr Pete van Vuuren heads the CIO Executive Programme at Gartner and is a senior executive advisor and consultant to CIOs on IT strategy and research. Following the successful development of three IT related businesses, Dr Pete Janse van Vuuren was a CIO at First National Bank (FNB) for three and a half years. During this time he was responsible for the Contact Centre & e-Commerce Systems and Architecture.

As a member of various ExCo’s within FNB, Pete also served on a number of the financial institution’s boards. Furthermore, Pete has 18 years of management experience in both General Management and Senior Management positions. He is also an Associate Director at Wits Business School (WBS), a Director of the Wits University School of Software Engineering (WITS JCSE) and a member of the SITA Advisory board.


Jenny Mckinnell, Executive Director, Cape IT Initiative

Jenny McKinnell took over the reigns as executive director of the Cape IT Initiative (CITI). Jenny has a strong desire to increase collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders in the ICT cluster – including government, academia, venture capitalists, other ICT bodies, and industry (from start-ups to large corporates). CITI is a Section 21 (non-profit) development and promotions agency for ICT in the Western Cape. Its mission – to stimulate and support the growth, promotion and transformation of the ICT cluster in the Western Cape.

McKinnell is an Internet industry veteran who draws on extensive experience as the initiator of her own successful ICT startup. She established information and research business, Infobeagle in 1995, which evolved into a joint-venture (with Research Surveys) Internet research company, Webchek. The company conducted the first market research studies of the Internet market in South Africa. After Webchek merged with Research Surveys (now TNS Research Surveys), she worked as a research consultant to several Internet ventures including M-Web. Demonstrating her ability to work with entrepreneurs, she also served as co-coordinator of First Tuesday in Cape Town, an initiative that aimed to bring Internet entrepreneurs together with venture capitalists.

Professor Johannes Cronje, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Johannes Cronjé was born in Davenport Iowa 50 years ago when his parents were there doing more than just studying. At the age of eight months he persuaded his parents to return to South Africa where he attended an Afrikaans primary school and then Pretoria Boys High School where he matriculated in 1976. Following this he enrolled at the University of Pretoria where he obtainend the BA majoring in Afrikaans, English and Anthropology, the BA honours as well as a Teachers' diploma before reporting for military service at the Infantry School, Oudtshoorn.

During his second year of national service he completed an MA in Afrikaans literature while serving on the Angolan border. He then taught English and Afrikaans at Pretoria Boys High until 1986 when he was appointed lecturer in Language Communication at Technikon Pretoria. He taught a student population ranging from secretaries, dental assistants and managers through to engineers and journalists. During this time he was involved in several programmes involving intercultural communication, in both the formal educational sector and in the service industry. He obtained a Doctorate in Afrikaans Literature in 1990 and then a Masters Degree in Computer-Assisted Education from the University of Pretoria. From 1994 to 2007 he was a professor of computers in education with the University of Pretoria. Currently he is the Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He has also been visiting professor at Sudan University of Science and Technology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; the University of Joensuu, Finland, and the University of Bergen, Norway. He has supervised 65 Masters and 30 Doctoral students and published more than 30 research papers. His hobbies include public speaking, road running, and playing the CD Player. He is married to Franci and they have 3 children, and a dog.

Roger Norton, SiliconCape

After leaving UCT mid way through an electrical engineering degree, Roger worked as an engineer on Superyachts traveling extensively for 4 years. Returning to SA in early 2010, he has taken on a ‘Real World’ degree in entrepreneurship where he combines his passions of Technology and Entrepreneurship.

This has led him through projects in Social Media integration, Website and Product analysis, Business Consulting, Financing the importation of Vuvuzela’s and finally Strategy and Branding for a life coach. Roger currently works for the Silicon Cape Initiative as the Co-ordinator where he aims to build traction for the brand and tangible projects that align with the goal of turning Cape Town into the “Silicon Valley of Africa”.


Jörn Messeter, Interaction Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Jörn Messeter is associate professor in interaction design at School of Arts and Communication (K3) in the Faculty of Culture and Society at Malmö University, Sweden. He is married to Louise Messeter, with two daughters: Josephine born 1998 and Clara born 2002. He completed his PhD in informatics (2000) with a focus on computer supported collaborative learning. His current focus in research and teaching is place-centric computing, mobile and ubiquitous computing and participatory approaches to interaction design. He has published about 20 peer reviewed scientific articles.

Jörn has a background in IT industry, where he worked as a programmer and systems developer a few years before he joined Lund University, Sweden in 1987. He has been teaching interaction design at bachelor level university courses since 1990 and at master level university courses since 1995. In 1998 he moved to Malmö University where he was part of running the influential two-year master’s program in interaction design at Malmö University since the start in the same year. He has also done consulting in interaction design for companies including Sony Ericsson, Epsilon, Inxl and Edison Solutions. In the period 2002 – 2010 he ran an exchange project between Malmö University and the Department of Industrial Design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), finance by SIDA, one of the major Swedish aid organizations. 46 student exchanges of 6 months, and 27 teacher exchanges of 5–8 weeks were completed during the project, with good results.

The fruitful experience from the exchange led to developing the partnership further and elevating it to research level. As a result, Jörn is currently appointed as adjunct professor in the Faculty of Informatics and Design, CPUT, and stays in Simon’s Town with his family. He has started a master’s program in Interaction Design (or IxD for short), currently enrolling 13 students from various departments at the faculty. The program is part of an initiative called the IxD Factory, which is aimed to work as a triple helix platform for research cooperations between university, industry and other external partners.

G-J van Rooyen, Director, Media Labs, Stellenbosch University

Dr Gert-Jan van Rooyen is Senior Lecturer in Telecommunications at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of Stellenbosch University. He is the Director of the MIH Electronic Media Laboratory, which specialises in research on the “new media” – communications and computer technology that promotes the dissemination and processing of information. The Media Laboratory is an interdisciplinary environment which (with generous support from Naspers) assists postgraduate researchers in their studies in Telecommunications, Signal Processing, Applied Mathematics, Software Engineering and E-Commerce.

Dr Van Rooyen matriculated at Durbanville High School in 1994, after which he completed his BEng and PhD at Stellenbosch University. He started lecturing at the Department of E&E Engineering in 2000, and 22 postgraduate students have already successfully completed their studies under his supervision. He currently supervises a team of 10 Masters and 4 PhD students, most of them in the field of Electronic Media. Besides his academic work, Dr Van Rooyen is fond of hiking, horseback riding, travelling and reading. He lives with his wife (a fashion designer) and year-old boy in Somerset West. Since he comes from a family of journalists and writers in the print and broadcast media, he is keenly interested in the interplay between the traditional and the new media.

Professor Andy Bytheway, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Following a 20 year career in the IT industry, Andy Bytheway took up an academic post at the Cranfield School of Management in the UK, where he pioneered the development of commercially-sponsored Information Systems research - a study of electronic commerce that was supported by 20 European organisations and linked with similar work in Japan. Other projects followed.

He emigrated to South Africa in 1998, where he took up the Old Mutual Chair in Information Systems at UWC. There he led the development of a new Department of Information Systems that rapidly attracted students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and established links with business and government. He is now Adjunct Professor of Information Management at CPUT, where he supervises masters and doctoral projects. Most recently he was awarded a three-year NRF grant to research the management of ICTs in South African Education. He has written three books and published more than 100 academic and practitioner papers. In his career Andy has chaired the UK committee for Software Engineering standards and led international work on a new reference model for Software Engineering. He has consulted widely with organisations such as the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office in the UK, Barclays Bank, IBM, Shell, SITPRO (the UK authority for the simplification of international trade), Yorkshire Electricity, and many others. He now lives in Riebeek West with his wife Ann. He is proud to be married to the woman who was the first person to achieve wave-mode transmission of light down a glass fibre (in the early 1960s), working as an intern for Charlie Kao at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories in Harlow, UK. In 2009 Charlie Kao shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for this trail-blazing work.

Prof Christo de Coning, Professor Extraordinaire, University of the Western Cape

Christo de Coning is a freelance technical advisor, evaluator, academic and development activist. He recently resigned as the CEO of the Elgin Learning Foundation near Grabouw where he managed development projects for the last two years. He is a Professor Extraordinaire at the University of the Western Cape (2009 to September 2012). As a specialist in policy management over the last 15 years, he has been involved in a number of training, research and publication initiatives as well technical assistance projects. Prof de Coning facilitated the Policy Management and Comparative Governance Courses for Masters’ participants at UWC, offered the Policy Implementation and Evaluation Course to MPhil candidates at UCT and acted as external facilitator on executive courses for the University of Stellenbosch as well as P&DM, Wits University. He has also for the last number of years taught Policy Management and Comparative Governance at Rhue University in Bochum, Germany. He has published a number of books and journal articles, notably the co-publication of Improving Public Policy, the main policy text book in South Africa and Cases in Policy Management: A Fieldwork book of policy initiatives in South Africa.

As a specialist in Evaluation, he has offered Masters classes at Wits, UCT and UWC and has conducted a number of evaluations. These include donor evaluations such as the partnership evaluation for GTZ in Botswana, the Programme evaluation of the European Union (EU) PSP in 2002, the SDC Medium-term Review in 2003 and most recently, the AusAID MTR of the African Governance Facility (2007). In government context, he has been involved in technical assistance projects with the design and implementation of monitoring systems, notably the design of the Tracking System of the Maputo Corridor and of late (2005/2006) the development of the Conceptual Framework for the Government-wide Monitoring and Evaluation System of the Western Cape Provincial Government (Office of the Premier).

He moved to Durbanville in the Western Cape in early 2004 and is married to Corrina de Coning (Wilkinson), a music teacher and choir conductor and has two children, Cian (18) and Christene (22) a professional photographer. Some of his other interests include aerobics, squash, food gardening, archaeology, racing pigeons and acrylic painting.

Kevin Tabisher, Information and Knowledge Strategy, City of Cape Town

Kevin Tabisher is the manager of Information and Knowledge Strategy (IKS) Branch of the Strategic Development Information and GIS (SDI & GIS) Department in the City of Cape Town. The branch is responsible for developing a City information and knowledge strategy, and improving the accessibility of information. Kevin joined the City in 2005, from the Western Cape Education Department, where he was the Head of the Education Management Information System (EMIS) in the Education Research Department. While at the City of Cape Town, Kevin developed an Information and Knowledge Management Framework for the City, which is meant to act as the corporate guideline for the City’s improved performance within the Information and Knowledge Management field. He is currently completing the Master’s programme in Information and Knowledge Management (MIKM) at the University of Stellenbosch.


Patrick Le Roux, Mobile EFX

Patrick is a seasoned entrepreneur being the CEO of Mobile EFX and recent start-up Venture Labs. He is the co-founder of the Southern African Near Field Initiative, a non profit association with the aim to accelerate the mass market deployment of an emerging mobile technology. Patrick was a semi-finalist at the Mobile World Congress 2008 for his work in the development of mobile data collection.

He also serves in the secretariat for the Wireless Access Providers Association, an industry body which acts as a collective voice for independent wireless operators across South Africa.



A Commercial Enterprise from a University Research Project
OpenText is the corporate sponsor of this CIO Colloquium. OpenText is the largest software centric company in Canada. It produces and distributes computer software applications designed to enable enterprise content management solutions for large corporate and government systems. The company, which was incorporated in 1991, originated from a project at the University of Waterloo to create an electronic Oxford English Dictionary, an undertaking that required developing search technologies that could be used to quickly index and retrieve information.


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