New Boss For Google SA
Business Day reports that there’s a new face at the head of Google South Africa, replacing Stafford Maisie, who stepped down in April, after 18 months at the helm of the South African division of the search engine giant.
American Stephen Newton, who was previously based in the London branch, says that he plans to spend the start of his tenure listening to customers and agents, and trying to smooth down some of the problems that may have been caused by his predecessor.
According to the report, Maisie created some bad feeling between the agents who sell Google’s Adwords services, by trying to force them to become officially certified, despite the fact that some of them had been doing business with Google for years. In response, one agent brought the Competition Commission into the case, claiming that Google was abusing its dominance, and flouting the Competition Act.
Learn And See
Newton has made clear that that he’s aware of the problems, and plans to address them, saying, “I want to learn what’s happening here before I make any big moves, so it’s time for observation and meetings with thought leaders and clients and seeing where some of the gaps are.”
He added that there is no longer any plan to insist on official authorisation for agents, although they will be encouraged to accept training to a certain standard for Google software. However, he refrained from commenting on the Competition Commission investigation, which remains ongoing.
Although more than 8,000 advertisers in South Africa make use of Google services, Newton heads a team of only 8 personnel, making the use of agents an important aspect of working in this particular market.
“The way we can be successful is by getting more people online and more businesses online and by helping to educate the market. We also need to educate advertising agencies on what Google can do for their clients so they get the kind of returns they expect,” said Newton.