SAP appoints new Africa lead amid Gupta scandal

Software giant SAP has appointed Cathy Smith as its new managing director for Africa, taking over from the acting MD appointed in the wake of a Gupta contract scandal in South Africa.

Smith joins SAP from Cisco, where she served as the managing director for the technology group’s sub-Sarhara Africa branch. She has more than 25 years of leadership and technology experience, and will also be the first female leader of SAP Africa, the group said.

Smith will be supported by the new SAP South African board, where she also sits as an executive director.

The new board for SAP South Africa comes after the previous management team was suspended, following investigations into the group’s activity surrounding contracts with Gupta-linked companies.

SAP admitted last week that it had paid over R128 million in kickbacks to Gupta-linked companies to help secure contracts in South Africa.

At the end of 2017, the software group hired law firm Baker McKenzie to investigate its contracts with the South African government and state-owned companies. The firm was also subject to investigations by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission over how it won contracts with South African SOCs.

In response to the ongoing saga, the company has strengthened its legal and compliance teams and is co-operating with the continued investigations by US and South African authorities.

As part of the action being taken in South Africa regarding government contracts, SAP has decided that it will no longer have sales commissions in public sector deals in countries with a Corruption Perceptions Index (according to Transparency International) below 50.

South Africa’s rating is 45.

Read: SAP admits to paying R128 million in kickbacks to Gupta-linked companies

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SAP appoints new Africa lead amid Gupta scandal