Get to know James Manyika, the Zimbabwean tech expert who just made history at Google

Abu Mubarik February 02, 2022
James Manyika. Photo: Linkedin/James Manyika

James Manyika has been appointed as Google’s first Senior Vice President of Technology and Society. According to Engadget, Manyika will help explore tech’s impact on society and shape the firm’s points of view on subjects including AI, the future of work, sustainability and other areas that could make a significant difference.

Prior to his appointment, Manyika was a director at McKinsey Global Institute. In his new role, the Zimbabwean man will report to Alphabet’s C.E.O Sundar Pichai. Alphabet is Google’s parent company.

“I’m thrilled that James Manyika will be joining Google’s leadership team,” Pichai said in a statement. “He’s spent decades working at the intersection of technology and society and has advised a number of businesses, academic institutions and governments along the way.”

Manyika has spent over 20 years in Silicon Valley. He had his first degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Zimbabwe and then went on to get two Masters degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. At Oxford, he was a member of the Programming Research Group, the Robotics Research Lab, and was a research fellow at Balliol College.

For 28 years, he worked at McKinsey, rising to become the Senior Partner and Chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute, which helps companies and governments make decisions based on economic and cultural trends.

Manyika also “serves on the boards of research institutes at Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Stanford and other top-tier schools. If anyone is likely to be aware of tech’s broader effects on the world, it’s him,” according to Engadget.

Under the then U.S. President Barack Obama, the Harare-born was appointed to serve as Vice Chair of the Global Development Council at the White House and by two U.S. Commerce Secretaries to the Digital Economy Board and to the National Innovation Board.

The Silicon Valley veteran has also served on national and international commissions. Most recently, he co-chaired the state of California’s Future of Work Commission. He is a Visiting Professor at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, and a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Responsible Computing Research and its Applications. 

The tech expert was also a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Economic Studies, a visiting scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Labs and a faculty exchange fellow at MIT.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 2, 2022


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