As the Director of Government Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment(B-BBEE) at SAP Africa within the SAP Global Corporate Affairs team, Sunil Geness leads all aspects of government relations, donor relations, B-BBEEE and corporate social responsibility activities for SAP in Africa. He has vast global experience in corporate, public and non-profit organisations and has appeared on several local and international television networks as a presenter, analyst and commentator. Geness has delivered several thought leadership presentations at local, African and international conferences. In his various capacities he has represented the South African Government and SAP at the World Economic Forum (WEF), BRICS Business Council, African Union, United Nations, European Union, European Commission, African Development Bank, the World Bank and other multilateral agencies on multiple occasions.
Geness has a passion for science, technology and innovation and began his career as a physical science, mathematics and electronics teacher (1989-1997) before he moved on to develop a wide range of experience in Government, Quasi-Government, Private sector and NGO organisations. These roles have included a policy making and implementation stint at the South African National Government at the Department for Public Service and Administration (DPSA), followed by a government modernization role at the DPSA (1998-2002), and subsequently a political advisory role at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), 2003-2004, before he was head-hunted by the German global software giant-SAP in 2004. Prior to the current role at SAP, Geness led Corporate Affairs (Internal & External Communications) for SAP in Africa within the global communications organisation from 2004-2012.
Sunil is the current President of the Information Technology Association (ITA) of South Africa, having previously fulfilled this portfolio in 2010, and a board member of the African Information Communication Technology Alliance (AFICTA). He currently also serves in the capacity of Chairman of the board of Directors at the Kwa Zulu-Natal Science Centre, board member of the Young Heroes of Swaziland and President of the African Association of Communication Directors (ACCD). As of 2015, Geness has been invited to serve in an advisory capacity to President Zuma and his Cabinet on matters pertaining to the National Development Plan, under the auspices of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA). Sunil is a strong believer in serving humanity and undertakes philanthropic activity as the co-founding member of the Geness Foundation, a Non-Profit company that focuses on health, education, entrepreneurship and sport programmes.
Geness was widely responsible for enabling the hosting of Sixth Science Centre World Congress (Scientific Olympics) for the first time on the African continent in 2011 as a leading member of the Local organising committee. At present Geness serves as a member of the private sector group of the 21st International AIDS Conference, scheduled for Durban from 17-22 July 2016. In 2014, the SADC Health Ministers invited Sunil to be part of the SADC Health Task Force which includes the Global Fund, International Organisation for migration, the World Bank, roll back Malaria and TB partnerships. He is a member of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IODSA) and has previously served on the boards of the Cape Town Science Centre and the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg.
Geness holds a Bachelor of Commerce (UNISA), Bachelor of Commerce Honours Cum Laude (UNISA), Master of Management in public and development management (P&DM, University of Witwatersrand), Higher Education Diploma (HED) (Springfield College) and has been the recipient of scholarships for executive leadership programmes at leading global business schools in the United Kingdom (Birmingham) and the United States of America (Harvard/WITS). A keen advocate of sustainability and environmentalism, he has also received the World Wide Fund (WWF), One Planet Leaders, sustainability scholarship in 2009. He is a strong believer in continuous learning/development and also serves a mentor to employees in SAP and as well as a clutch of senior business leaders in other organisations in South Africa.