Philip Morris Accelerates Smoke-free Transformation with Key Leadership Appointments

Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) is accelerating its transformation to a smoke-free company with key leadership appointments.

PMSA Managing Director Branislav Bibic says that “A smoke-free future is attainable, and the benefits it can bring to the adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke, and hence to global public health, are enormous.”

“PMI’s vision is powered by the energy and passion from our people who work collaboratively to deliver positive change for adult-smokers who would otherwise continue smoking, and for the broader society. We are rapidly transforming our business and need a united team that drives purpose, creativity and collaboration,” he explains. “For a global company like PMI harnessing local talent to drive our smoke-free ambition in South Africa with a firm understanding of the local market is imperative. The fact that we attract and retain great talent to deliver on our vision speaks volumes about our continued excellent company practices and the ability to meet the needs of a globally diverse workforce.”

These appointments come as the company was recently certified as Global Top Employer for a sixth consecutive year.

The key leadership appointments include David Kadalie as Director Consumer Experience, Russel Khuzwayo as Director Commercial Operations and Vuyokazi Xapa as Director Corporate Communications.

David Kadalie – Director Consumer Experience

Kadalie started his 17-year career with PMSA as a sales representative and has spanned a variety of functions both locally and at its global operations centre in Switzerland. Since his return to South Africa in 2017, David held various roles within the South African affiliate spanning across Director Sales & Distribution and Director Commercial Operations. His new appointment will see him leading the consumer experience team across PMSA’s smoke-free product portfolio.

“We’re proud to be the first tobacco company to commit to a smoke-free future. It’s a monumental change – an ambition that I share,” Kadalie explains. “My goal is to continue levelling up our consumer experience in order to further accelerate switching from cigarettes to less harmful alternatives for adults who don’t quit smoking.”

“I have been afforded the opportunity to both be part of PMI’s shift to a smoke-free organisation and as a former smoker, experience first-hand the benefits our heated tobacco products have on my life,” he says. “It’s incredible to be part of a company that continues to focus on end-to-end consumer experience in order to drive their move away from cigarettes.”

Russel Khuzwayo – Director Commercial Operations

Khuzwayo started working with PMSA in 2014 as a sales supervisor. In his eight years with the company, he has held various roles within the sales force namely: informal trade sales manager, regional sales manager, city head for reduced risk products (RRP), head of indirect retail and B2C channels and then head of national deployment before being appointed as Director Commercial Operations. He recently completed his MBA through the Henley School of Business Management. Prior to joining PMI Khuzwayo worked at South African Breweries and was once a professional South African footballer for premier league football clubs.

“Our purpose is to make a positive impact on the lives of South African adult smokers. The transformation of our business not only in bringing smoke-free products to the local market but the way in which we commercially show-up in transforming the business internally has been remarkable to be part of, he says. “I’m encouraged to be part of a leadership team driving societal change on this scale and I am looking forward to driving the commercial strategy for the organisation to ensure we work cross-functionally to achieve our ambitious goals.”

“Most notably,” he adds, “self-development has been critical in achieving my own ambitions and fast-tracking my career progression through PMI in such a high-performance working environment.”

Vuyokazi Xapa – Director Corporate Communications

Xapa has been working in communications for over a decade. She joined PMI as senior communications manager in 2021. After only several months working with the leadership team in this role, she was recognised and rewarded for her talent and promoted to her director role.

Prior to joining PMSA she served as Senior Manager for Corporate Communications at Bridgestone Southern Africa and was responsible for leading communications functions across the company. Adding to the list of multinationals on her career journey, she was instrumental in starting the corporate communications department at the Kellogg’s Sub-Saharan company in 2014, where she played a key role in implementing and creating awareness around the company’s Breakfast for Better Days initiative™ which helped feed over 25,000 children every school day.

On her appointment to PMSA’s leadership team, she says: “I am inspired to join an organisation like PMI which is committed to its transformation by providing adults who smoke with better, scientifically-substantiated alternatives to cigarettes.”

“Like any transformative vision, change needs to be explained and we have to face scepticism and misinformation head on, which is why the role of communications is so important,” she adds. “I look forward to taking on the challenge. The success of PMI’s smoke-free vision relies on the support of regulators, government, and civil society, and to a large degree on our talented employees who are responsible to deliver on this vision.”

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