Black Excellence: Meet James Manyika, The Zimbabwean Tech Expert With An Historic Feat At Google

by Duke Magazine

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.

Before 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 several businesses, academic institutions, and governments along the way.”
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 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.

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