Our Zone President for Africa, Ricardo Tadeu, has completed his first 150 days in office and has put his 20 years of experience in the beer industry to good use with some exciting plans and projects to help take the beer industry to new heights.
Ricardo has taken some time out to answer a few questions on what he has found and what the approach is going forward.
We started off by asking him what his impressions have been over the past 150 days.
“I have been amazed at the ability of people in SAB to adapt to different models of working while at the same time delivering existing and new projects, delivering results and making things happen. It’s been as if it is business as usual. This is an extraordinary feat and I’m very impressed!”
Moving onto the more serious stuff, we asked him about his plans and priorities for the first year and beyond
“In AB InBev, our Dream is to bring people together for a better world, and in Africa, my job is to build a company that is a model corporate citizen, that drives growth, is both efficient and productive, a company that everyone loves to work for and – really importantly - that gives back and makes a real difference to society. So the business focus will be on driving growth by bringing new and different innovations to the market with great packaging and exciting products. It’s all about giving consumers more choice and growing our volumes in a responsible manner. I can’t reveal too much on that, but watch this space – I promise you won’t be disappointed!”
We’ve seen a lot about the Better World sustainability approach the company is taking at a global level, and asked Ricardo how it would be implemented here.
“My great personal passion is about making a real difference in society. It’s the area that I have put a lot focus and effort into over the past 150 days, and we are going to make a big and sustainable difference to the lives of people living in communities. To do so, we have identified three priorities to build our communities and implement our Better World sustainability agenda in Africa. These are development and jobs; nutrition and health and promotion of moderation while fighting harm caused by alcohol abuse. We will also be investing heavily in agriculture with projects such as supporting emerging farmers and expanding the number who supply us, as well as developing SAB into a net exporter of malt and hops over the next 5 years.”
The obvious next question was whether we could get some more insight into any of these projects!
“There are quite a lot, but let me touch on just three. On 20th April, we will launch a pilot project called Beers for Africa, which is an 8-pack of beers from different countries across Africa, one being Castle Lager. We have partnered with Stop Hunger Now – an amazing NGO that distributes meals for people living in poverty. Each 8-pack of beers sold will contribute to a wholesome meal for 3 students across Africa, and our goal is to reach more than 1-million people by 2018. Then there is our big focus on creating and supporting entrepreneurs by building on the work SAB has been doing for decades. We will launch a campaign later this year to create 10 000 authentic and sustainable new jobs through entrepreneurs, using the SAB Foundation, SAB Kickstart and the SAB Thrive Fund. And also, we have committed about R39-million to township taverns in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape to upgrade infrastructure, lighting and security. It is so important to improve conditions for consumers and help fight harm caused by alcohol abuse, and it will also build communities and generate jobs. And these are just some of our projects!”
We know that Ricardo is passionate about beer, and asked him what role he saw for beer in the broader industry, and his thought on the craft sector in SA
“Yes, I do love beer! I think the wonderful thing about beer is that it can be great in so many different types and drinking occasions. I never forget that we are responsible for preserving its traditions and, at the same time, making sure it is always evolving. And, definitely, we must make sure it is responsibly consumed, as part of a healthy lifestyle. As you may know, I am a great enthusiast of craft beers and have supported the craft industry strongly in all the places I have worked. Absolutely we are going to continue supporting crafting brewers here in many different ways – raw materials, technical advice, training and much more.”
And finally, we asked how he and his family are finding living in South Africa.
“It’s really great and we are so happy here – we love the people, the sunshine, the relaxed way of life and the friendliness of South Africans. Although to be honest, we have not been through a winter here yet, so we still need to do this! And also, my family and I have always lived in apartments – that’s just the way of life in places we have stayed previously – so we love living in a house, taking time to enjoy the sunny days. I particularly love having a braai with friends at the weekend and enjoying a cold beer or two – as you would expect!”
HIS PARTING THOUGHTS:
“We are on our way to becoming a company that inspires all our African Zone colleagues in the dream of creating a truly model company, one which will be the pride of the whole continent. We are making history!”