Nolo Thobejane takes helm of KFC’s rest of sub-Saharan Africa operations

AFRICA – KFC Africa, regional operating unit of US-based fast-food chain KFC, has appointed Nolo Thobejane as head of rest of sub-Saharan Africa (RoSSA), which is made up of 22 growth markets.

Having joined the KFC business in 2005 as human resources business partner, Thobejane, who was born in Tshwane, rose through the ranks to her previous executive post of franchise operations and engagement director for the RoSSA region.

In her new role, Thobejane will assume overall accountability over the brand’s sub-Saharan markets, a key region for the brand.

She will oversee and accelerate the group’s growth agenda while ensuring franchise partners uphold KFC brand standards and values in serving customers, teams and communities.

Speaking on the appointment, Akhona Qengqe, chief people and transformation officer at KFC Africa said, “Nolo has been instrumental in the expansion of at least five of the 22 RoSSA markets, one of them being a fully virtual process.

“An amazing collaborator, deliberate people-grower and a culture ambassador, there could not be a better person to take on this very pivotal role in our organisation.”

In a statement, the company described Thobejane as a well-rounded leader from both a people and operations perspective.

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Thobejane commented, “KFC has set the bar high in the QSR sector, so we already have strong foundations in place in sub-Saharan Africa. My goal is to move that bar even higher – especially around partner capability as a key enabler of growth. People and Culture will always remain critical in unlocking potential in growth markets.”

According to Thobejane, her focus will be ensuring that the company’s talent and skills are future-proofed post-Covid, while tapping into new channels driven by e-commerce and finding opportunities amid the pandemic, driving brand trust.

In September last year, the fast-food restaurant launched an in-house delivery service dubbed KFC Delivery Plus, allowing customers to place their orders via the KFC mobile app or website.

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“The right skills and partnerships create the kind of stability and culture that both people and business need in an environment where change is inevitable and happening at an exponential rate.

“By using our culture as the competitive edge, and by progressively building our capability, we will further enable our partners to grow,” concludes Thobejane.

As Thobejane takes helm of the regional operations, Jacques Theunissen, CEO of KFC East Africa is in talks with the Kenyan government officials on initiating local sourcing of processed potatoes.

The parties are set to develop a roadmap within the next two weeks that will dictate how KFC can access locally processed chips that conform to its global quality standards and food safety specifications following recent public complaints on social media.

In a tweet posted earlier in the year, the franchise noted that it had run out of chips, eliciting sharp reactions from Kenyans with some terming it as insensitive to local potato farmers who struggle to find a market for their produce.

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