Ed: Can you name key highlights from your 35-year career?
Robin Moore (RM): My 35 years in the industry, which began in the Metal Box/Nampak days, have provided great opportunities for self-development and leadership, and to learn about different cultures in the 50 countries I’ve been privileged to visit. My proudest moment was attaining my primary goal of charting a new course for Astrapak and taking the company into the global arena in 2017.
I’m also humbled by and very grateful for the loyal support and friendship I’ve received from management, staff and industry associations during my tenure at Nampak and Astrapak.
Ed: What lies ahead during the coming year?
RM: I’m looking forward to travelling adventures with my wife, Vicky, and our daughter’s wedding in December, but I’ll be watching Berry Astrapak and the broader packaging industry with interest. Berry Astrapak’s energetic management team is capable of further developing the strategy to make this a world-class organisation. I encourage them to continue having fun and to take part in the industry’s sustainability challenge, particularly on the plastics front.
Craig Matthews (CM): Until the end of the calendar year, I’ll be assessing the optimal base for myself, which might require a move away from Cape Town.
I’d like to wait to make this decision until my twins have completed junior school.
The Berry-RPC merger is the latest significant change that our organisation has undergone and is a more complex takeover than the previous RPC acquisition as Berry Astrapak now forms part of the Bramlage Division based in Germany.
And, as Berry is very focused on cash generation, post the substantial acquisition of the RPC Group, we need to maximise efficiencies in the face of the current low rate of economic growth and reduced consumer demand in South Africa. Additionally, we need to make some structural changes, get them bedded down and grow top-line sales to take advantage of African market opportunities.
After two visits by the global management team, we’re helping them to better understand the vagaries of doing business in South Africa and matters that affect employees’ lives. For example, they were quite shocked to learn that, unlike in the US, we can’t just change service providers if we’re dissatisfied with the power generation situation.
Ed: What are the biggest lessons learnt during your six-month handover process?
CM: I have learnt much from Robin including the importance of meticulous planning; keeping a finger on the pulse in all aspects of the business, especially those not related to converting and production; and always remaining respectful towards people and sensitive to the human side of the business, especially during the tough times.
Ed: How would you describe your business philosophy?
CM: Essentially, mine is a people-focused philosophy driven by the belief that great people make great companies. This means focusing on the development, coaching and training of people, allowing them to deliver exceptionally in each functional area of the business. It’s management’s responsibility to string each of the functional areas together to create a company that performs optimally.
Ed: And your leadership style?
CM: Again, people-focused with emphasis on treating all staff with the same degree of respect, irrespective of position within the organisation. It’s an inclusive style that respects each team member’s unique skills that add value to the organisation. Additionally, an ability to encourage each member to perform optimally is key to the company’s overall performance.
Ed: Your favourite quotation or the best advice you’ve been given?
CM: Leaders instil in their people a hope for success and belief in themselves, and then empower them to achieve those goals.