SVEN THIEME: The simplicity in complexity
The Ohlthaver and List (O&L) Group, one of Nam ibiaís largest holding companies with interests in food production, fisheries, beverages, agriculture, retail trade, information technology, property development, leisure and hospitality as well as marine engineering was awarded the Second Best Company to Work For in southern Africa by Deloitte South Africa.
By winning the award, the company that came second to a US Company, McDonalds, is technically the best African company in the region.
The Groupís Executive Chairman, Sven Thieme (ST) who sits on seven boards of the Groupís subsidiaries and an influential personality in the Namibian corporate world discusses the recipe to his empireís continued success and the latest endeavours.
PF: Letís start with a broad overview of the Ohlthaver & List Group of Companies?
ST: The O & L Group is a Group of Companies investing in various industries predominantly in Namibia. We are in beer brewing, soft-drink production and milk value-adding products such as yoghurt or fermented and cultured products, processed meat, catching of fish and the processing thereof into value-added products, retail with our supermarkets, property development and management, steel manufacturing and ship repair and last but not least, in leisure being restaurants and hotels.
PF: Being a holding company, do you have operations literally throughout the world?
ST: No, we only have further operations in South Africa through our joint venture with Diageo and Heineken. Our products are, however, available throughout the world especially our Windhoek Lager which is distributed and marketed through third party agencies. The same applies to our fish products which are sold predominantly in Europe, New Zealand, Australia and the USA. Our dairy range is also expanding rapidly especially into Angola and Zambia.
PF: What is the recipe for the Groupís success?
ST: One of the key successes of the Group is that we found the simplicity in the complexity and as you can see that with us, a company which is so very diversified, it becomes even more important. We have and are still in the process of streamlining and standardising four key aspects of our Group which touches each and every business. These are the way we look after our people, world-class process and procedures, our way of building brands and last but not least, to have a break-through in executing ...
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