• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Price increases will always be last resort for Hayat Nigeria, says company Country Manager

Price increases will be always be last resort for Hayat Nigeria, says company Country Manager

Latunji Motayo recently assumed the role of country manager for Hayat Nigeria, becoming the first Nigerian to lead the multinational company’s operations in the country. In this interview, Motayo shares his perspectives on his historic appointment, Hayat’s commitment to developing local talent, the challenges and opportunities in the Nigerian FMCG sector, and his strategic vision for driving sustainable growth and innovation while fostering closer collaboration with stakeholders.

As the first indigenous Nigerian to assume this leadership position within the Hayat structure, how does this milestone show Hayat’s commitment to inclusiveness and empowering its Nigerian workforce?

I am truly honoured and excited to take on this important role within the Hayat. Nigeria is a key market for our global business, and the company has made substantial investments in our facilities and, most importantly, our people here. This appointment demonstrates Hayat’s unshaken trust in local talents and local governance. It’s also a firm demonstration of inclusiveness in the way the company operates and manages its business.

Of course, this appointment is not only a personal achievement but also a source of pride for all Hayat Nigeria employees. It motivates us to showcase our capabilities and participate in the company’s success at the top level. Over the past eight years, Hayat has invested heavily in developing local talents, equipping them with in-depth knowledge of our products, systems, and processes. This strategic focus on talent development has been instrumental in promoting the company’s growth in Nigeria and has paved the way for a local professional like me to assume the country’s leadership role.

Could you highlight the key factors that contributed to your selection for this role and how your previous experiences have prepared you for this new challenge?

My complete loyalty to Hayat, commitment to success, and taking ownership and responsibility were all pivotal factors in my selection. Throughout my career, I have been guided by the principles of responsibility, discipline, transparency, and action-orientedness. These personal values have underpinned my approach to work, and I have also instilled them in my teams as much as possible.

In addition, my attention to detail and open mindset have been critical contributors to my professional journey. Ultimately, delivering on your promises is paramount in any leadership role. The various key positions I have held, along with their experiences, have prepared me for this new challenge.

If I may digress a little, I can say that my colleagues are my family. If I evaluate my time daily, there is a battle between the time I spend with my colleagues and the time I spend with my family.

I enjoy good camaraderie with my team. We create time for us to come together and loosen up. We bond and try to understand each other more. This gives everyone a sense of belonging and a sense of responsibility. Everyone must feel important because everybody is truly important. We recognise that each person here plays a crucial role in our success.

How do you plan to foster collaboration and synergy between the local Nigerian team and the broader Hayat HQ organisation?

Fostering collaboration and synergy between our Nigerian operations and the broader Hayat HQ organisation is deeply embedded in our daily operations. Having worked within this integrated framework for eight years, I aim to simply build upon it and strengthen the existing collaborative practices.

Maintaining firm alignment and seamless collaboration with the Hayat HQ will remain my top priority. By proving our capabilities and credibility, we will reinforce Hayat’s trust in Nigeria.

Considering the evolving needs of Nigerian consumers, what strategies do you envision to drive innovation and introduce new products or services that cater to this dynamic market?

The Nigerian business landscape is undoubtedly challenging, with economic headwinds and numerous obstacles affecting the FMCG sector. At Hayat, we remain committed to our mission of providing top-quality products for Nigerian consumers. We have the consumer interest at the forefront of all our actions and decisions.

Across all our product categories, our brands are renowned for their superior quality and innovation, making them the preferred choice for Nigerian consumers. However, in the face of inflationary pressures, meeting consumer expectations in terms of pricing remains a significant challenge. We shall be creative in our approach to solving these difficulties while we continue to drive revenue growth.

While price increases should always be a last resort, we are bent on consistently offering the best value to our consumers. Keeping our brand promises is also non-negotiable. Again, we acknowledge the tough economic conditions in Nigeria and their impact on all businesses. Still, we trust in the recovery potential of our country, so we will be patient. Our substantial investments in Nigeria underscore our long-term commitment to this market. We always focus on innovation. We shall continue to cater for the evolving needs of Nigerian consumers. This is our pledge.

Because we are a multinational FMCG organisation operating in Nigeria, we think global and act local. Our strong network and innovative approach across the world guarantee our optimal application of global best practices to solving local needs.

Talent development and succession planning are crucial for building a strong pipeline of future leaders. How do you plan to approach this aspect within Hayat Nigeria?

Once again, my appointment as the first Nigeria Country Manager is a strong demonstration of Hayat’s trust in local talents. The company remains committed to supporting the professional aspirations of its employees. They provide the necessary resources and opportunities for continuous learning and advancement.

Talent development has always been deeply embedded in the company’s framework for nurturing its human capital. Moving forward, we will heighten awareness of these opportunities among our Nigerian workforce, encouraging them to embrace a growth mindset and approach their roles with passion and dedication. Our employees have a clear vision of their career trajectories.

As the first Nigerian to assume this position for Hayat Nigeria, what message does your appointment send to other local talents within the FMCG industry?

As Nigerians, we are widely recognised as ambitious people. Hardworking and aspirational, particularly among the younger generation. This inherent drive and energy make Nigeria an attractive destination for foreign investors, as ambitious professionals strive to excel in their roles.

However, there has been a perception and mindset that local talents may face limitations in ascending to the highest echelons of leadership within multinational corporations, especially in the presence of experts.

My appointment sends a powerful message to aspiring professionals in the FMCG industry: that with dedication, loyalty, credibility, and a proven track record of performance, the path to the top is achievable.

We must also acknowledge and appreciate the investments made by these multinational corporations in Nigeria. It reflects their confidence in our nation’s potential and its people. Companies like Hayat have shown this by entrusting local talents with leadership roles and providing opportunities for growth and advancement. They have also shown their commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce that can drive sustainable success.

How would you assess the current competitive landscape in the Nigerian FMCG sector, and what strategies will you employ to position Hayat at the forefront of this industry?

The Nigerian FMCG sector has undoubtedly faced many challenges in recent years, leading some companies to restructure their operations or even exit the market entirely. The difficult business terrain, characterised by many factors that we all know—needless to list them out—has put immense pressure on the bottom lines of FMCG companies.

However, I can confidently assure you that Hayat has weathered these storms. Now, I assume this leadership role with modest expectations of economic recovery.

The current administration’s economic reforms and policies appear to be yielding positive results, ensuring a conducive environment for business sustainability. This reassuring trend may encourage companies that had previously reassessed their investments in Nigeria to reevaluate their stance.

We remain resolute in our commitment to Nigeria, backed by Hayat’s trust in the Nigerian market. Like they say, ‘’tough times never last, but tough people do’’. This is a good description of who we are.

How do you plan to engage with key stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and government authorities, to further strengthen Hayat’s position in Nigeria?

My slogan will remain ‘WINNING TOGETHER’. Nothing happens by chance in any sphere of life you find yourself in—academics, career, relationships, etc.—nothing happens by chance; you often get out of life what you put in it. I’m also a very strong believer in the law of harvest: whatever you sow, you will reap. Togetherness is very important in the way we think, the way we walk, and the way we treat each other. It’s very important, not only to our employees but to our business partners, stakeholders, and all third-party collaborators.

Fairness and transparency are at the core of our dealings with our stakeholders.

Nurturing close relationships with our stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and government authorities, is paramount. We will prioritise an open communication system to ensure that our goals, strategies, and actions are clearly conveyed. Transparency will be a hallmark of our interactions, as we believe in building trust through honesty and accountability.

As a trailblazer in your field, what advice would you offer to other aspiring Nigerian professionals looking to assume leadership roles within multinational corporations?

For aspiring Nigerian professionals seeking leadership roles within multinational corporations, my advice would be as follows: First and foremost, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your organisation’s goals, objectives, and expectations in your local market. Embrace these wholeheartedly, internalise them, and align your actions accordingly. This orientation is essential for success. Secondly, believe in yourself and your capabilities. Cultivate self-confidence and pursue excellence until you reach the pinnacle of your career.

To be recognised and valued within a multinational corporation, it is essential to make your impact felt. Consistently deliver on your promises and always leave lasting impressions. Self-visibility and tangible contributions are key to advancement.

Credibility is paramount in the corporate world. Your words and actions must match and be consistent. Build a reputation for integrity, reliability, and trustworthiness. Credibility breeds trust, which is a cornerstone of corporate leadership.

Be loyal to your organisation, no matter the situation. Demonstrate your commitment to the company’s vision and values through your actions and decisions. Loyalty and dedication are valued qualities of successful leaders.

Nigeria is a rich pool of talent, and I have had the privilege of working with exceptional professionals in the industry. You are a brand. Develop yourself and announce yourself.

Lastly, remember that success is a journey, not a destination. Continuous learning, adaptability, and a growth mindset are essential for navigating the ever-changing corporate landscape. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and remain resilient in the face of adversity. Before you know it, you will get there. I will close by thanking God Almighty for His love and kindness to me and my family! All I have achieved is through God’s grace and mercy.