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Derek Wilcocks - A true South African

Wilcocks believes people are informed by their backgrounds.

Derek Wilcocks

Derek Wilcocks

Recently appointed global CIO of Dimension Data, Derek Wilcocks describes himself as a small-town boy with very deep roots in South Africa. In fact, his family has lived in the country for 200 years. "I don't have any other passports, any other means to go anywhere else, or, frankly, any desire to do so," he says.

After graduating from Wits university, Wilcocks worked at state-owned aerospace and defence giant Denel. He joined the Dimension Data Group in 1995 as founding MD of Internet Solutions' subsidiary, Trusted Network Solutions, which was the first local company to get involved in network security, as well as firewall and cryptography technology. He says internet security was a fascinating space to be in at the time. His company realised that there were cryptography restrictions in place for exporting code from the US, resulting in browsers coming into South Africa being broken. Banks were reluctant to jump on the online banking bandwagon due to security concerns. Trusted Networks developed software that sat between browser and OS and encrypted it, and sold it to one of the big SA banks, which was the first to launch internet banking.

He joined Internet Solutions in 1996, and was appointed MD in October 2009.

He is proud of DiData's shift in culture, making it more values-based and more human. Although he concedes it's only a slight shift, with a tightening global economy and shift towards digitisation which translates into job cuts, he tries to be the voice of the individuals. "I am most proud of the individuals I have helped to find their purpose, and people I have helped through difficult times along their journey. I haven't helped thousands of people, but I've helped a couple of hundred," he says. "My time at DiData wasn't always easy. I'm not a natural corporate fit."

This article was first published in Brainstorm magazine. Click here to read the complete article at the Brainstorm website.

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