Microsoft SA appoints first woman MD Lillian Barnard


Lillian Barnard has been appointed as the new managing director of Microsoft South Africa.

Lillian Barnard’s appointment as managing director of Microsoft South Africa comes shortly after Zoaib Hoosen resigned as MD, after being with the company for almost five years. 

Lillian will be taking up the role as of 1 March, making her the first woman to hold the position since Microsoft reinvested in South Africa in the early 1990s. 

In a statement, she said: 

“Succeeding someone who has led with such distinction is an honour. Zoaib has ensured that I will be taking over an extraordinary organisation. The business truly is in a strong position as a result of his commitment over the last five years. I am planning to continue to drive this growth as we move forward.” 

Lillian joined Microsoft in May 2017 as a director of the public sector division, and was immediately earmarked as a potential successor to Zoaib. 

The statement said: 

“Her development and impact as a leader, as a spokesperson, as technologist and as a seller within Microsoft have positioned her as an ideal successor capable of leading Microsoft South Africa into its next exciting chapter. She has more than 20 years’ ICT experience, having been in leadership roles both in South Africa and internationally.” 

Before she joined Microsoft, Lillian served as the chief sales officer at Vodacom and worked for IBM for 15 years. She has also served on the boards of Vodacom South Africa, Mango and the Dad-fund non-profit organisation. She is also patron of the Dream Girls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme of South Africa

“Barnard is very passionate about the empowerment and advancement of women and has a personal mandate to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders,” the statement said.

Finally, the statement outlined Lillian’s achievements in her time with Microsoft: 

“During her tenure at Microsoft, Barnard has pulled together a strong public sector team that has delivered innovative digital solutions and helped digitally transform the South African government. She has also been pivotal in re-igniting the South African chapter of Women@Microsoft and spurring a culture that embraces gender equality in the workplace.”

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