Microsoft New Zealand’s new local leader will be no stranger to the country or the local team when he starts his new job here next week.
Zimbabwean Kevin Ackhurst joins the company as country manager from its global headquarters in Redmond in the US, where he was general manager of Operations and Business Strategy for Public Sector.
He replaces Helen Robinson who resigned suddenly a month ago after two years with the company, to pursue still unspecified new business challenges.
But, according to John Bessey, Microsoft New Zealand partner group director, Ackhurst already has a reasonable understanding of the local market, as he had regular contact with staff here when he was public sector director at Microsoft Australia from 2003 to 2006.
“He had a very strong role leading the public sector and had a number of interactions around that with the local team. Our previous two country managers, Ross Peat and Helen Robinson, were also part of the ANZ leadership team [with Ackhurst] and Kevin would have gained a view of the local market every week. He will hit the ground running.”
In addition, Ackhurst is credited as being instrumental in the development of the Microsoft Innovation Centre concept, which resulted in the launch of the local centre in Wellington.
Bessey adds Ackhurst has been in regular contact with the local team over the past week and has already set time aside to meet with key customers and partners.
“He is showing a big intent in terms of one-on-one engagement with strategic partners and customers, and wants to spend time around the country outside of events.”
Ackhurst has visited New Zealand around a dozen times before, including a month-long tour of the country with his family.
He started his career with Microsoft in 1997 in the consulting services division at its South African subsidiary. Before joining Microsoft, he was the systems and technology manager for the HP distributor in South Africa, COSI Distribution.
Ackhurst holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa