DURBAN-BORN Yudi Moodley (38) has been appointed as managing director for BlackBerry Africa. Moodley takes over the reins from Alex Zagury, who will now head up BlackBerry in UK and Ireland as their new managing director. “I am excited to be taking on the role of managing director for Africa, one of BlackBerry’s key markets,” Moodley said yesterday. He was BlackBerry’s business management director for the Middle East and Africa prior to his appointment, a role spanning commercial management as well as business planning and forecasting. Before joining BlackBerry in 2010, Moodley spent four years with Cell C, where his last position was as senior national retail sales manager. He started his career with Caltex Oil. Despite living away from Durban Moodley said “it was still home”. Before leaving for Johannesburg at the age of 30, Moodley lived in Reservoir Hills and attended Durwest Primary school and Reservoir Hills Secondary. “My parents and most of my siblings are still based in Durban. It’s my hometown, so I try to get there as often as possible, which is generally once every few months. I am still a big Sharks supporter,” he said. When asked what users can expect from BlackBerry, Moodley said: “We will keep working with our local partners to serve all our customers and focus on driving the ongoing adoption of the Blackberry 10 platform and BBM, the iconic mobile social network. We recently launched BBM for iPhone and Android customers and saw more than 20 million downloads in just one week to bring the total number of BBM customers to over 80 million.” Moodley is the second person from KwaZulu-Natal to be assigned to head up a division of a major mobile brand. In July this year, Shaun Durandt, formerly of Pietermaritzburg, was appointed as the general manager of Nokia SA. While the BlackBerry brand took a dip after losing market share due to the launch of new devices from Samsung and Nokia, and the demise of the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), Moodley said they remained a leading smartphone brand in many markets and the number-one brand in South Africa, according to Canalys second-quarter survey for 2013. “BlackBerry is a strong brand in Africa. For example, in South Africa three of the top 10 smartphones, and in Nigeria four of the top 10 smartphones sold are BlackBerry devices.” Since the launch of the BlackBerry 10 series smartphone, the company has launched a range of lower cost devices and recently their new flagship device the Z30, successor to the Z10, and Moodley was particularly confident in this device. “The BlackBerry Z30 is our biggest, fastest and most advanced smartphone,” he said.