Outgoing Managing Director for Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) and Botswana Breweries Limited (BBL), Hloni Matsela, says his main priorities were to set up the right strategies, motivating the KBL and BBL teams and ensuring the best people were in the right jobs.
Matsela said the most challenging aspects to the business came by way of external shocks; particularly as they run a business that is extremely sensitive to them adding that unfortunately, during his period as MD, there have been several such external shocks.
“I began my tenure at KBL & BBL at the tail-end of the last devaluation of the Pula when our companies like most others, were still in a state of recovery. After a short period thereafter, there was the general economic decline, followed by regulatory changes that continue to affect our business. It is indeed very difficult to keep the business steady under those circumstances,” he explained.
Matsela told Sunday Standard that at KBL & BBL, one of the core principles is to “work & win in teams”. He added that to this end, they proactively mobilized the stakeholders such as their suppliers, retailers and distributors. He also included the communities in which they operate and indeed all players across the supply chain in order to stabilize the situation.
“We believe in actively engaging with our stakeholders, therefore we have also maintained a constant engagement with government to ensure that they were aware of the challenges, complexities and issues pertinent to our business environment,” said Matsela.
He further highlighted that he had been very fortunate to have had such a high calibre of people and teams working with him. He said by aligning the right people and teams to the prevailing business environment they have significantly reduced any pressure of expectations. He further stated that as a team, they have been able to navigate through the difficult patches and he shall always remain grateful for the support he has enjoyed from his teams at KBL and BBL.
“Discouraging irresponsible consumption is a priority that the business feels very strongly about. It is no coincidence that it is the first out of our Ten Sustainable Development Priorities that articulate the material issues for our business,” he stated.
Matsela said that some of the responsible consumption initiatives and interventions that the company has engaged over the years include their work through the Tripartite Alliance [KBL, BOMAID & MVA], the ‘Draw the Line Campaign’, the Designated Driver Campaigns, TalkingAlcohol.com, committing to a ‘code of conduct’ with their retailers, their association and ommitment to the Botswana Alcohol Industry Association [BAIA], to mention a few.
“Our view is that people are more amenable to the more persuasive, informative and educational approaches that enable them to make more informed choices when it comes to alcohol consumption. It is for this reason that we have launched and embarked on Ikgalemele, a campaign that inherently espouses these principles,” said Matsela.
He revealed that he has been appointed as Corporate Affairs Director: SABMiller Africa where he will be engaged in leading, executing and integrating SABMiller Corporate Affairs strategies across the continent. The Lesotho-born Matsela has held the post of Managing Director at KBL and BBL for the past six years and is expected to leave the company towards the end of August 2012.