Katsande exits Nestle

ZIMBABWE –  Nestle Zimbabwe Limited (Nestle) managing director Kumbirai Katsande is set to step down from the helm of the Swiss multinational local unit at the end of September after a four-year stint.

The renowned business executive who was in his second spell with the company from horticultural group Ariston, presided over the company during its most challenging periods and is widely expected to retain his chairmanship role.

Sources close to the developments told Daily Newsthat Katsande yesterday addressed staff and informed them of his impending departure.

They said an expatriate has already been identified to take over from the outspoken Katsande, who has been a director of several companies including Hunyani Holdings and diversified banking group FBC Holdings.

He was also a board member for Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe, Olivine Industries, the Grain Marketing Board and the Cold Storage Company.

Katsande’s departure comes as the company’s operations are reportedly being weighed down by high operational costs, power shortages and illegal products importation.

During his tenure, the former two-time Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president presided over a $20 million investment into the refurbishment and upgrading of its cereals plant and the introduction of new products.

The investment has enabled Nestle to increase production of previously limited brands such as Cerevita Chocomalt due to increased production capacity in the cereals manufacturing plant and resumed its popular Milo brands suspended two years ago.

Two mega silos for the storage of imported raw materials were also installed as part of the upgrades, which also saw the construction of a new administration block and quality assurance laboratories.

The Swiss multinational which exports some its product lines to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, launched a $14 million Dairy Empowerment Scheme in 2011, where main objective is to rebuild the local dairy sector.

The initiative which runs for five years, involves the importation of 2 000 dairy cows for large-scale commercial farmers and 2 000 dairy cows for the small-scale farmers, who reportedly earn nearly $120 million every year from milk sales.

Nestlé’s output for the first quarter of 2013 was 10 percent up on the milk category and 20 percent for the cereals, coffee and beverage categories.

Nestlé operates a factory in Harare, producing milk powder and cereals for the local market. It has been present in Zimbabwe for over 50 years.

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