Microsoft's new Latin America president takes over following legal battle with IBM

Rodrigo Kede Lima waited a year to be able to start in his new role.

Microsoft has announced Rodrigo Kede Lima as the new president for its operations in Latin America and corporate Vice President at Microsoft Corporation.

The announcement made today sees Kede Lima starting in the role a year after being appointed as a successor of the previous incumbent Cesar Cernuda, who left to become president at the cloud data services company NetApp.

Kede Lima left his previous employer IBM, where he worked for nearly 25 years, on May 18, 2020. Two days later, Microsoft announced his appointment. The Big Blue then sued Kede Lima, alleging a breach of his non-compete agreement (which establishes a one-year interval between leaving IBM and taking another executive position at a competitor) and misappropriation of trade secrets.

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Last September, a New York federal court ruled in favor of IBM, preventing the executive from starting his new job at Microsoft until May 18, 2021.

Kede Lima started his career at IBM, and left the company for a brief period to lead Brazilian software firm Totvs, but rejoined the Big Blue six months later to lead its Latin American business, and subsequently moved to the US to head IBM's global services unit.

In his new role at Microsoft, Kede Lima is accountable for the company's entire product offering, as well as services and support in Latin America, an operation that encompasses 30 offices in 22 countries.

Describing its new leader as an "empathetic leader, with deep knowledge about what digital transformation means," Microsoft noted the executive "will focus on continuing to develop a strong collaborative ecosystem that will further empower the Latin American market and the community at large."

"By prioritizing customer needs and promoting strong relationships with partners, his leadership will seek to extend the legacy of commitment that the company has had in the last 34 years of presence in the region," the company noted, adding that Kede Lima's strategy "places trust as a fundamental building block of any implementation and solution."

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