Meet the CEO: Cisco’s Clayton Naidoo

Clayton Naidoo

Meet the CEO is a regular feature on TechCentral. The aim is to introduce our readers to the people behind the news by providing insights into the leaders shaping South Africa’s ICT industry. Our latest interview in the series is with Clayton Naidoo, GM for Cisco in sub-Saharan Africa. — Duncan McLeod, Editor

What was your first-ever job?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My dad was always a business owner. He start with car hire and then moved into retail. My first job was packing shelves in my dad’s business.

Who is your greatest role model, and why?
My dad. He displays resilience during the toughest of times.

What’s your favourite quote?
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

What phone do you currently use, and why?
Apple’s iPhone — it offers a perfectly integrated ecosystem.

What are you currently reading?
The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life, by Robin Sharma.

What are your three favourite books?
Good to Great, by Jim Collins; Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela; and The Leader Who Had No Title, by Robin Sharma.

What’s your favourite movie?
The Green Mile.

What is your most treasured possession?
My fishing rods

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Definitely leading the sub-Saharan Africa business for Cisco.

What is your greatest regret?
Not taking risks fast enough.

How do you cope with stress?
I think positively and adopt a “solutionist” mind-set. I focus on the facts and put things into perspective. And most importantly, I remain calm!

What skill or talent would you most like to possess that you don’t already?
I would love to play a musical instrument.

What phrase do you most use/overuse in business?
Do everything you can within your control.

What’s your favourite place in the world, and why?
My home town, Port Shepstone. Visiting makes me feel human again.

  • Missed any other interviews in TechCentral’s Meet the CEO feature? View them here