ZIMBABWE – Nestlé, has elevated the acting Managing Director of its Zimbabwean unit, Asim Rifat to be the company’s head in an expanded capacity that will see the executive manage a cluster with six countries from the previous three.

Rifat takes over the helm of the company from Eunice Ganyawu-Magwali, who was appointed Nestle Zimbabwe’s first woman managing director in 2019.

In his new role, Rifat will be the cluster manager for the newly-created Greater Zambezi Region, which includes Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Comoros.

The Greater Zambezi Cluster is part of a larger group of 23 nations known as the East and Southern African Region.

Prior to the new appointment, he was the business executive officer for the Nestle East and Southern Africa region where he oversaw the business operations of 18 countries in the region.

The Pakistan-born executive has vast expertise in both the FMCG and pharmaceutical industries. His career with Nestlé extends over 16 years, with numerous leadership responsibilities in countries in the Middle East as well as East and Southern Africa and Pakistan.

His stint at Nestle dates back to 2005 where he started as a Brand Manager and then moved to Field Operations Manager position for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Rifat was promoted to Group Product Manager – Infant Nutrition for Nestlé Middle East in 2009, where he oversaw Middle East Infant Nutrition Marketing.

He also oversaw the infant nutrition business in Saudi Arabia as the General Operations Manager – Infant Nutrition in 2012, and then moved on to become the Country Business Manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he was responsible for Maternal and Infant Nutrition across the value chain.

He took over the role of Business Executive Officer Nutrition for South Africa in 2017, which was then expanded to cover Nutrition business operations for the East and Southern Africa Region in 2018.

Before joining Nestlé, he worked in Pakistan’s pharmaceutical business, overseeing commercial activities.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine as well as a master’s degree in business administration from Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan.

The appointment of Rifat to head Nestlé Zimbabwe comes as the food and beverages concern has pledged continued support to the local economies it operates in.

In 2020, the company inaugurated a US$2.5m cereals manufacturing line in Zimbabwe aimed to boost operations to meet local demand and exports.

The expansion is set to result in over 30% incremental volume through put as the food and beverages concern expands capacity, targeting to triple its US$400,000 monthly exports in the medium term.

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