Mark Ocitti Ongom was on Thursday unveiled in Kampala as the new Managing Director (MD) of Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL), taking over from Nyimpini Mabunda.
Ongom is only the second Ugandan to lead the beverage manufacturer since UK multinational Diageo Plc, acquired majority shareholding in East African Breweries Limited (EABL) 16 years ago, in 2000. First Ugandan MD at UBL, that EABL has a majority shareholding in, was Baker Magunda, now MD of Mehta Abor in Ethiopia.
UBL’s incoming MD has over 20 years’ experience in the oil, telecom and beverages industries. Ongom has worked before with Shell International Uganda and Bharti Airtel International before joining EABL in 2014.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics from Makerere University and a Masters in Business Administration from the Herriot Watt University, Edinburgh.
Two big appointments by EABL
Ongom’s appointment is the second big change in EABL in a week, as last Friday the group named a new regional MD.
Andrew Cowan was last week appointed the new EABL MD, taking over from Charles Ireland who will take up the General Manager, Great Britain (GB), Ireland and France position based in London.
“We see Cowan bringing in a lot of expertise and commercial leadership which will be a good fit for the business. This will help us consolidate on the good progress and solid foundation that we have built over the years, to realise our ambition of becoming the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer Products Company on the continent,” Group Board Chairman Charles Muchene said last week.
“During Ireland’s time, EABL has become one of the best performing markets in Diageo and the fastest growing market for Guinness. Sustainable development performance has also significantly improved, as evidenced by local material sourcing which increased from 45% to over 80%, delivering economic benefits for EABL and over 32,000 East African farmers. EABL has been recognised number 2 ‘best place to work’ in Africa by Deloitte and a great deal of work has gone into the environment stewardship agenda.”
Ongom ready for new challenge
UBL Board Chairman Alan Shonubi made the Ugandan announcement today in Kampala.
Ongom has been head of EABL International which operates across geographies of South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC. EABL reports indicate that he doubled the contribution to the EABL Group from 5% to 10% in 3 years.
“I admit that Nyimpini Mabunda’s shoes will be too big to fill. However, I am confident that he leaves behind a great team that I will work hand in hand with to steer UBL to greater heights,” incoming MD, Ongom said.
“We are committed to growing innovation as well as extending reach by improving the route to consumer as evidenced by the Ngule beer brand.”
Mabunda proud of work done
“Contrary to media reports, I was not fired,” Nyimpini joked.
“I joined UBL on a fixed year contract of 3 years as per Diageo terms. I know many of you are curious about where I am off to next. After 15 years with Diageo, I have made a decision to go back to South Africa. I have spent the last 2 years without my family. The time has come for me to reunite with them.”
UBL Board Chairman Alan Shonubi credited Nyimpini with growing the company’s market share by over 8% and introducing Ngule, the fastest growing beer on the Uganda market after only five months.
“Mr. Mabunda has served us well as MD by reviving our flagship brands as well as introducing one of the biggest success stories; Ngule, a beer produced in partnership with Buganda Kingdom.”
— Uganda Breweries Ltd (@UgandaBreweries) January 21, 2016
Challenging business environment
On challenges faced during his term, Nyimpini cited slow down in the economy and difficult market conditions. Nyimpini mentioned the increase in excise duty from 20% to 30%.
“I believe in the potential of this market and Ugandans love to celebrate life. That is what our businesses exist for – to celebrate life,” Nyimpini said
Reports indicate that he saw UBL return to volume and market share growth despite the challenging trading environment.
Reports also indicate he quadrupled innovation Net Sales contribution to UBL to 8% by end of FY 2015/2016. Ngule Lager – the official Buganda Kingdom Beer, surpassed sales three-fold in the first three months.