Head of Marketing,
“From the age of ten, I was learning the marketing trade from my Dad. He started a business selling dog food (a new thing at the time in Costa Rica) to houses in the nicer neighbourhoods. He would knock on doors, explaining to people what he was selling and why they should buy it. He’d then send me to the other side of the street to do the same. Looking back, I realise how much it taught me: like how to build a route, how to change it if sales are weak and how to sell to supermarkets.
“I’ve been at BAT for nearly 20 years, but I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. But then, if you enjoy what you do and like the people you do it with, I suppose time really does fly. I’m now in Cairo, where I’ve been for two years as Head of Marketing for North Africa. I’ve travelled a long way to be here. I’ve been posted to Uzbekistan and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Jamaica and Iran.
“Living in Iran was quite restrictive: there were only ten restaurants in the whole of Tehran, so my social life consisted of going to gatherings at people’s houses. But on a professional level, it was very memorable. As general manager, I played a big part in turning around the company’s sales.
“My team started to concentrate on building our brands back up and reconnecting with the consumer. I also decided to double the size of our sales force and introduce a small army of brand ambassadors across the country.
“By the time I moved on, our sales were back up, while Iran is now one of BAT’s most important markets in terms of brand innovation. As for me, my plan is to retire in seven years’ time when I’m 50; I’ve bought up a few properties back home to rent out, so they should keep me going. But that plan may change. You just never know.”