VeriSign Steps Up Local SA Investment

[12 March 2001] – VeriSign, the online certification company that controls the “.com” top-level domain, is increasing its investment in Cape Town-based Thawte, which it acquired at the end 1999 for US$575 million from Mark Shuttleworth. The buy-out gave VeriSign over 90 percent market share of the certification market at the time.

The US-based multinational will be outsourcing its non-US customer support and telesales services for the Mass Markets to Thawte from July onwards, a move that should double Thawte’s staff complement by mid-2002.

Reasons given for the move include a good return on investment from Thawte, the high caliber of local applicants and location.

Ben Golub, vice president and general manager of Web site trust services division of VeriSign, expressed confidence in South Africa’s political and economic future, “not least because it offers tremendous opportunities to American companies looking to extend their global reach.”

Apart from “excellent universities” delivering fresh talent annually, Golub commented that Cape Town was a cosmopolitan city, with the alignment of the SA timeline with Europe’s and it’s relative closeness to the Asia-Pacific timeline making it easier to work in real time with those regions’ “key considerations for any US company wishing to ensure off-shore success,” remarks Golub.

“All appointments made will depend on candidates’ ability to meet stringent recruitment criteria,” says Golub. Among these are a security check, experience and a flair for foreign languages. The recruitment process has already started, with 30 new appointments being made over the course of the last year.

VeriSign also announced last Thursday that it would be expanding its workforce in Northern Virginia, USA, by 400-500, in expectation of a ‘wave of new registrations.’ This comes after it relinquished control of the “.org” and “.net” domains in return for keeping control of the “.com” domains until 2007.

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