Vivo Energy Group Chief Executive Officer, Christian Chammas, said this week at the official opening of local lubricants reseller GasOil Energy that the energy company seeks empowerment as a cornerstone of its operations in Botswana.
Consolidation of core decision-making processes into the hands of Vivo Energy Botswana managing director, Wayne Kingwill and his team is a departure from the previous Shell model where decisions and strategy was through South Africa and London.
Chammas said previous decision making was in the form of management by class of businesses or functions, creating a longer chain of command that deprived the local management team of the power to actually run the Botswana business.
“Empowerment is to make sure everybody in the organization plays their role in contributing to the success of the organisation,” Chammas said.
“In our organisation today there is no dilution because of this empowerment because each one of the team knows what they need to do to deliver.”
The group CEO also spoke of empowerment in a wider sense where local companies and operating units look for partnership opportunities to enable this to crystallize as service station owners or operators, fuel or lubricants distributors or other suppliers.
He said as a long-term investor, Vivo Energy’s remit is to create value and wealth for local communities while maximising its return on investment.
“We look for empowerment through partnerships that lead to the success of the company or individuals being empowered,” Chammas said.
He emphasised the value of skills transfer, marketing support and infrastructural support.
“Service station businesses are ideal opportunities for us to train and empower young energetic entrepreneurs who share our desire to grow and exceed our customers’ expectations.”
A Shell licensee established in December 2011, Vivo Energy operates in 16
16 African markets, distributing and marketing Shell-branded fuels and lubricants.
The company operates in Retail; Commercial Fuels (Marine, Mining and Aviation in partnership with Vitol Aviation); Liquefied Petroleum Gas; Lubricants and Bitumen in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda.
“Shell remains the overarching customer-facing brand and the name on Vivo Energy’s fuels and lubricants,” he said.
“Vivo Energy is a Pan African Business with a rich local context, we will invest and continue grow the business and the Shell brand among Batswana and the business community,” Chammas said.
The energy group has a strong backing, with Vitol and Helios each having a 40 percent stake, with Shell holding the balance of 20 percent.
It will market and sell lubricants through an exclusive Master Distribution Agreements with entities like GasOil Energy.
“Our ambition for Africa is to double the size of our business by 2017,” Chammas said.
“The Vivo Energy Botswana team will provide expert support to the Gas Oil teams to assist in the implementation of value-creating sales and marketing initiatives.”
He said local economic empowerment is not only the right thing to do but it is also good for Botswana.
“The role of companies like ours is not only to have presence in a country but leave a mark on its people, an indelible mark that can never be erased over time,” Chammas said.
He stressed that many fail to understand that the economic landscape has shifted and so the overarching question is not “what the government can do for us, but how we, as corporate Botswana can do to assist the Botswana government realize its mandate”.
In empowering its former employees, the principals of GasOil Energy, Vitol hopes to kick start a process of breeding new local entrepreneurs “whose exploits will result in increased employment and increased taxes towards the national budget”.
And Gasoil Energy chairman, Ditirwa Mphoeng said the local enterprise was here for the long haul.