Savanna recruits ex-BAT boss

HARARE - Nick Hales, the former British American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria managing director, has been appointed Savanna Tobacco (Savanna)’s global chief executive, as the group seeks to expand its African footprint.

The appointment, along with Douglas Mamvura’s as chief marketing officer, is part of efforts to create or make the company a Zimbabwean multi-national, chairman Adam Molai has said.

“…we embarked on an exhaustive recruitment of global skills and capacity to drive our vision on strategic and operational levels,” he told Business Live.

Savanna, which competes with BAT in Zimbabwe, has capacity to produce about 4,5 billion cigarettes annually while it also exports to Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.

The group said Hales — with over 27 years of experience in global tobacco operations and market development — will spearhead Savanna’s strategic and operational aspects.

Hales has specialised operating in Africa where he has managed multi-million dollar factory builds, market entries, brand launches, large-scale contract farming and major restructuring of companies.

Mamvura, a banker-cum-marketer whose career was birthed at Coca-Cola Central Africa, is expected to promote and commercialise Savanna’s brands across the continent.

He is credited with changing the face of Zimbabwe’s banking industry when he worked for CBZ Holdings, Trust Bank and partly when his consortium acquired Premier Finance Group.

“Our desire is to build  a global and dominant brand whose roots are domiciled in Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe is where you get the finest people and finest products.  Savanna  is testimony to that,” said Mamvura.

“We aim to be true ambassadors whose thrust is on showcasing the excellence,  beauty and class  associated with Zimbabwean products and its people as we spread our wings across the globe,” he added.

Meanwhile, the key appointments come on the back of Savanna recently investing over $5 million in new cigarette packaging equipment.

The group, established in 2002, plans to open a packaging plant in Mozambique. According to Molai, the Mozambique plant, estimated to cost nearly $2 million, will serve the country’s domestic market.

Exports account for approximately 85 percent of Savanna’s annual revenue, with the Zimbabwean market contributing the remainder.

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