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Inside Kansai Plascon’s top management shake-up

(L-R) Kansai Plascon Uganda Ltd outgoing Managing Director, Chris Nugent, President Hiroshi Ishino , Vice President, Kalpana Abe, and MD Kansai Plascon East Africa, Wim Bramer, during the launch of anti-mosquito paint in Kampala on Feb. 05.

MD shown exit as sales and marketing manager faces investigations over misconduct

Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Kansai Plascon Uganda Limited has over the last couple of months hosted several senior executives from the parent company, Kansai Paint, based in Osaka, Japan.

The executives’ stopover climaxed on Feb. 05 with the visit of Kalpana Abe, the company’s vice president and Hiroshi Ishino, the president during the launch of an anti-mosquito paint in Kampala.

But The Independent has learnt that behind the visit, the executives sought to know the inner operations of Plascon Uganda Limited since it acquired the assets of the former holder of the Sadolin brand in East Africa, two years ago.

On top of the executives’ minds was the “poor performance” of the company which has registered a drop in annual turnover, estimated at more than 40% in an industry that has recently become very competitive.

However, in trying to understand the Uganda operations, The Independent investigations show that the executives unearthed a network of unscrupulous deals linked to the top managers of Kansai Plascon Uganda Limited.

This, sources said, triggered the Kansai Plascon executives to fire some of the top employees in its subsidiary for conflict of interest and supplying goods to their employer.

The sources, for example, said Plascon Uganda Managing Director, Chris Nugent, was found to be the owner of a paintings company – Specialized Coatings – that also buys paints from the paint maker.

Santosh Gumte, who had been the company’s commercial director since 2007, was found to be the owner of one of the local plastics manufacturing firm that supplies plastic tins for paint packaging to his employer.

It is Santosh’s association with the company that Sadolin Paint switched the plastic tins supplier to Friendship Plastics, which also supplies to Crown paints, the producer of Regal Paints.

Interestingly, Santosh had not been fired; instead he was promoted to become a co-managing director with Nugent for a year as the latter exited the paint company, according to an internal memo that The Independent has seen.

“I am sure all members of staff will give Santosh their full support in his role,” Nugent said in an internal memo circulated to the staff on Feb.08.

Sources said Kansai Paints now plans to fly in an executive to be in charge of finance following the promotion of former commercial director.

Nilesh Jani, who has been the company’s sales and marketing manager, has been suspended pending investigations for misconduct.

When contacted for a comment over the development on March 01, Nugent said indeed there is a plan for him to retire although it is still work in progress.

In terms of decline in company performance, Nugent, who was appointed to the company’s helm in 1994 but has served for nearly 30 years in various capacities, said the company’s growth has been fantastic. He said the company recorded a 5% growth in turnover.

However, he declined to comment on the suspension of Nilesh, who has worked for the company for about 12 years. Nilesh, on the other hand, denied to have been suspended, referring this publication to the outgoing managing director.

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