takealot.com, a leading South African online retailer, is looking for a highly talented Head of Artificial Intelligence to join our team in Cape Town

We are a young, dynamic, hyper growth company looking for smart, creative, hard- working people with integrity to join us. We offer a market related, Total Remuneration Package which allows full flexibility according to your needs, a great work environment and a promise that you won’t be bored as long as you are prepared for a challenge and want to build something great.

The position reports to the Chief Technical Officer

The Role

We are looking for a proven AI leader with a strong customer-centric mindset, solid background in innovation, creating and delivering AI/ML solutions, driving growth and collaborating across the company to accelerate incubation and delivery of new AI/ML based business capabilities across the Takealot Group.

In this role, you will lead an AI division that has been positioned to accelerate our capabilities through use of AI/ML technologies. You will have an opportunity to work in close partnership with business leaders across the organization to understand the challenges that can be solved through innovative AI/ML based solutions, and you will lead the teams to deliver those solutions. Your role will serve as the Subject Matter Expert on Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning disciplines, providing thought leadership on emerging topics and trends, while working with your team to establish and deliver AI roadmaps across multiple focus areas – inspiring collaboration and success across the enterprise as we optimize productivity and efficiency and provide great customer experience.

The Head of Artificial Intelligence is a transformative, collaborative and inspirational leader with deep expertise, a passion for coaching, leading and inspiring cross functional teams to solve business challenges, create solutions and deliver business value. This role will report directly to the Chief Technical Officer, while working conjointly with the respective discipline leaders representing each line of business and functional areas across the Takealot Group.

Your responsibilities will include the following:

You will lead a world-class artificial intelligence division comprised of experts in machine learning, data science, product management and software engineering. The division’s focus is on accelerating the impact of machine learning across the Takealot Group portfolio of companies (Takealot.com, Superbalist, Mr D), developing AI-by-design services across multiple focus areas to improve the experience of our users and make our operations more efficient.

You will be an effective evangelist of machine learning across the group; helping executives and stakeholders understand the capabilities and potential value of ML as well as its limitations. Leveraging a team of dedicated product managers you will oversee the manifestation of Machine Learning roadmaps for the various focus areas across the Takealot Group brands. To do this you’ll work closely with executives and relevant business units, providing ideas and insights to identify opportunities where ML solutions can drive meaningful business results. Part of this will include insights into build vs buy decision making.

To execute on your roadmaps, you will oversee multiple teams of highly talented data scientists, data engineers, machine learning engineers and product managers, aimed at delivering projects reliably against projected roadmap timelines. These roadmaps, along with their success metrics, will be set and communicated to stakeholders quarterly by you and your product team.

You will be responsible for determining your talent needs and maintaining your own talent pipeline. With the help of ongoing coaching and performance feedback you will be responsible for developing and retaining employees under your purview. 

You will play a key role in determining which technologies, services, toolkits, data structures and methodologies should be employed to optimally achieve AI objectives.

Success in this role means being able to effectively move the needle of the company’s “North Star” metrics through consistent execution of machine learning initiatives. 

Qualifications and experience:

  • Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph. D in AI, Computer Science, ML, Electrical Engineering or related fields such as Statistics, Applied Math or Computational Neuroscience.
  • 10+ years comprehensive advanced analytics, research, modeling/data science or relevant experience
  • Leadership experiences in leading artificial intelligence and machine learning teams on a variety of business impacting areas that enabled innovation and business outcomes.
  • A strong record in delivering machine learning and/or data products including defining ML problems, identifying data strategy, building ML MVP and scaling/production of a prototype to full-scale production.
  • Experience in leading and developing remote and distributed teams.
  • Experience leading and executing cross functional projects. Familiarity and proficiency with agile methods and tools to support project management in a timeline sensitive environment.

 Attributes required:

  • A strong understanding of both the technical aspects of machine learning as well as business needs. Ability to bridge the gap between business and technology with respect to machine learning. 
  • Ability to go deep technically on which AI methodologies are best suited to specific business and customer problems, as well as elevate your thinking to consider business and strategic implications.
  • Ability to facilitate thoughtful and constructive conversations within and outside the team and an ability to communicate complex ideas effectively.
  • Enjoys making difficult things happen, leading the way in doing things for the first time, changing current ways of working and solving the many challenges along the way.
  • Strong analytical skills to effectively create recommendations, influence decision-making, assess impacts, compare solutions, problem solve, and achieve business and/or technical objectives.
  • Ability to learn quickly (technology, business models, target industries)
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and a vibrant personality
  • Strategic orientation with an attention to detail.
  • Structured thinking, ability to remove ambiguity and work under pressure.
  • Proficiency to work closely and collaboratively with multiple departments and executives, and in cross-functional teams.
  • High accountability when it comes to meeting deadlines and ship dates, and ability to lead numerous projects simultaneously under time constraints.
  • Strategy
    • Provides leadership and vision for development and implementation of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Team Orientation
    • Balances organizational, team, and individual responsibilities.
    • Exhibits objective leadership and openness to other views.
    • Gives and welcomes feedback.
    • Puts success of organization and team above own interest.
  • Leadership
    • Sets and drives cross-functional objectives and priorities and forms a vision for the future of the enterprise.
    • Effectively influences across multiple teams, senior leaders, organizations, and/or enterprise.
    • Demonstrates the vision and thought leadership necessary to set broad technical direction and can communicate/articulate a clear vision of services.
    • Exhibits team leadership, provides guidance, feedback and coaching to direct reports.
    • Influences all levels and contributes to the transformation agenda.
    • Leads functional objectives and priorities across multiple platforms, technologies and teams
  • Technical Skills and Competencies
    • Strong experience in advanced analytics, research, modeling, data science, and business analytics.
    • Strong hands on knowledge and experience in solutions for enterprise wide needs in alignment with line of business priorities.
    • Ability to manage both at the strategic and operational levels.
    • Able to evaluate current market and industry trends and up to date with AI research.
    • Solid understanding of nuances related to building machine learning models including data preparation techniques, feature engineering techniques, building machine learning (ML) deep learning models and related ML algorithms
    • Stay up to date with current developments in the field of AI – Safe AI, Ethical AI, Fair AI etc.
    • Proficient in understanding and optimizing Cloud AI/ML services on AWS, GCP, Azure; Cloud computing services
  • Communication Skills
    • Able to build strong relationships and foster a collaborative environment across Business and Shared organizations.
    • Expert written and oral communication at all levels, both internally and externally.
    • Expert presentation skills used to influence other leaders across the Enterprise.
    • Strong Business knowledge and partnership.
    • Able to demonstrate thorough understanding of business and financial acumen and proactively make recommendations.

The Environment:

  • takealot.com employees are entrepreneurial and dynamic, smart, customer-centric, fun and have the shared ambition of takealot.com being the leading e-commerce company in Africa.
  • We have fun, work hard, take ownership, work in teams to create solutions, and are always open to direct feedback/new ideas on where we can improve.
  • We are short on ego and high on output.
  • We are doers and not only thinkers, it’s all in the execution after all.
  • We love what we do and what we are creating.

We seek to Employ an Extra Ordinary Mind who

  • is forthright but respectful
  • is an expert at doing, who can not only design but also execute
  • is analytical, able to use data to make decisions
  • is competitive, self-directed and strive to be the BEST (GREAT requires a lot of work and does not only happen during business hours
  • is passionate about the potential of e-commerce and delivering a world-class customer experience
  • is entrepreneurial, thrives under change and accepts it is a constant and always looks for solutions to do something better and faster
  • is able to think about problems from a business perspective using technical and product input
  • is curious and challenge the status quo
  • is innovative and enjoys iteration
  • is collaborative
  • will be at the cutting edge of developing new concepts for takealot.com.
  • thinks like an owner of the business.

If you meet the above you are an Extraordinary Mind so come and join us!

Takealot is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants from the previously disadvantaged groups and people with disabilities will be given preference.

Apply for this Job

* Required

When autocomplete results are available use up and down arrows to review
+ Add Another Education