New boss for BAT

Business Zimbabwe

Ndaka Majaka

ZIMBABWE’S largest cigarette manufacturer, British American Tobacco (BAT), has appointed South African Kimesh Naidoo as its new Managing Director, ZTN has learnt.

According to sources at the company, Naidoo – who was Director of Customer Interaction at Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB Inbev) in South Africa – will be in the country next week following regulatory approval.

He takes over from Clara Mlambo who stepped down early this year. The appointment is with effect from October 22, 2019.

Naidoo comes in as the cigarette company, which posted a 61 percent increase in gross profit to $23,5 million in the first half of 2019, is struggling to adjust to the country’s recently introduced ad valorem taxation on cigarettes in place of the specific excise system that was there before.

To compound this, BAT is also battling to remain profitable under current economic conditions which have knocked sales volumes and affected consumer spending.

In the first half, BAT’s total sales volumes were down 20 percent compared to the same period last year. Despite this, revenue surged 48 percent to $9,6 million in the period under review.

Meanwhile, sources told ZTN that the company’s 129 direct employees were not going to be affected by a global restructuring that will see BAT Plc shave off 2 000 management jobs.