BAT Zimbabwe new boss optimistic

HARARE - The British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BAT Zimbabwe) recently appointed Clara Mlambo as its new managing director taking over from long-serving executive Lovemore Manatsa.

Our business editor John Kachembere speaks to Mlambo over her new appointment and her vision for the cigarette manufacturing company. Below are excerpts of the interview

Q: Congratulations on your recent appointment as BAT Zimbabwe managing director, what are your plans for the company?

A: Thank you for your kind remarks.

One of our most significant strategic advantages as a business is our remarkable brand portfolio, which we believe offers our consumers a choice of products that satisfy their needs.

Going forward, will seek to leverage on our brand equity to ensure that we grow our market share, albeit in the context of a challenging economic environment.

The enterprising spirit of our employees has also been instrumental in the company meeting and surpassing shareholder expectations in the past.

We have in place a competitive human resource management strategy which involves performance management as an integral approach to its people practices.

Q: Over the past few years Zimbabwe has seen the emergence of new cigarette manufacturing firms, how do you plan to tackle competition?

A: Our competitive methods are always open, transparent and ethical.

BAT Zimbabwe abides by the voluntary international marketing principles (IMP) which are applicable for the whole BAT group with respect to the marketing and advertising of tobacco products.

The scope of the international marketing principles is to ensure that we communicate in a responsible way with adult tobacco consumers about our products, in order to grow our market share.

The marketing principles are our minimum standards and will be applied even when they are stricter than local legislation on tobacco control.

Q: Zimbabwe is likely to experience drought this year, will this affect your production target for 2016?

A: Our business is not directly involved in leaf production, BAT purchases its leaf requirements from a third party.

That said, in the context of the commercial side of the value chain, we estimate that the 2016 drought will put further affordability pressures on our consumers.

We have a number of initiatives and strategies that will come into effect during the course of the year which will assist us in attaining our targets.

Q: What is your market share and profits target for this year and how you intend to achieve this?

A: As you are aware, our company is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and as a result, we are unable to give you a precise forecast for profitability and financial performance in view of the requirements of the Listing Rules and the Securities Act.

Q:  Our readers might want to know who Clara Mlambo is, may you please briefly tell us about yourself?

A: I have been with the British American Tobacco group for over 18 years, I joined the company as a management trainee and went further to hold the positions of head of brands, head of trade and marketing manager in Zimbabwe.

I was later seconded to British American Tobacco South Africa where I was initially cluster manager grocery responsible for the Spar, Pick n Pay and Shoprite accounts.

In 2009, I was promoted to area head of brands sub Saharan Africa and later area head of brands East and Central Africa area based in Kenya.

From September 2011 to December 2013, I held the position of head of marketing for the British American Tobacco Southern African markets cluster, following which I was appointed managing director of British American Tobacco (Zambia) Plc until my recent appointment as managing director of BAT Zimbabwe.

Q: What are some of the challenges you have faced in business as a woman?

A: I am fortunate to have worked for the British American Tobacco group which is a diverse company and equal opportunity employer.

As an organisation, we believe that men and women should be afforded the same opportunities, based on merit.

For illustrative purposes, the board of British American Tobacco Zimbabwe is 40 percent female. As an organisation, we understand the strength of diversity.

From a personal perspective however, there are the obvious challenges of being a wife, mother and career woman.

I am thankful for my husband’s support, and strong mentorship from other career women within and outside the organisation who have taught me how to try and create the right balance.

Comments (1)

Daily News = Corporate Shill How much did you get paid for printing this advertorial? Not one word of criticism or a question regarding BAT's support for the ZANU-PF regime.

Craig Williamson - 16 August 2016

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