As the director of VMware Africa’s Sub-Saharan Africa business, Matthew Kibby manages four key offices located at Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, and Cape Town. Kibby’s job satisfaction comes from seeing individuals and teams within the region succeed and grow. For him it is all about the people. “I believe that it is our people that differentiate us as a business, and my focus has always been, on growing our people.”
His career in technology spans 23 years and for him to pick out a single most memorable achievement is difficult. However Kibby feels it is about the successful people whose careers he has been able to influence that also makes him feel that he has achieved something special.
Amongst Kibby’s challenging tasks is conducting business in West Africa. While Kibby points out he has an amazing team out there, the realities of that region can be somewhat challenging. “Whenever I visit, I am brought down to earth with a bump experiencing the challenges, which they have to overcome on a daily basis. If you have never experienced Lagos, do yourself a favour and take a visit to see what and how business is done,” he reflects.
Nothing in the technology industry remains static and there have been some memorable moments for him. “I remember the first fax machine in the early eighties, when I was starting out in my career, and looking on in amazement at a document miraculously appearing from the other side of the world. In middle nineties when email became the de-facto communication medium for business, that too, was a memorable moment.” Another look-back moment for Kibby was when he closed his first million plus dollar deal during his successful sales career. “The absolute adrenalin rush that you get knowing that you are helping your customer and achieving your sales goals in the process.”
Kibby has always had a passion for electronics, dismantling and assembling components from a young age. And for him it always felt right to craft a career in this industry. But he still feels, “A career in technology found me, rather than me finding a career in technology.” His team management philosophy is straight forward, which is a people centric and people priority approach. “Without people we have no business. I see my team as my customer base. I am here to make sure that they are empowered and have all they need to be successful.”
There are so many hot technology talking points and for him to choose just one is difficult. VMware is conducting cloud enablement discussions with its customers and prospects every day. IoT, machine learning, virtual reality also figure on top of this list.
Kibby is passionate about the bush and nature, and spends his downtime with his wife marveling at what they see and experience. He describes himself as a family man with two daughters and now a grandson as well. As with all successful executives, he has been fortunate throughout his career to be able to get the right work-life balance. “Do not ever underestimate the importance of this,” he advises.
Working closely with his team members across the continent, Matthew Kibby believes in growing them to overcome local challenges they face.