Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Karachi IBA Alum Appointed CEO of KFC

Sabir Sami from Pakistan has been appointed the chief executive officer of KFC effective January 1, 2022, according to a YUM Brands announcement today.  Sami, who currently serves as KFC Division Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of KFC Asia, will succeed Tony Lowings, who is stepping down as CEO at the end of 2021 in advance of his retirement in early 2022.  Sabir Sami is a graduate of the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, Pakistan. 

Sabir Sami, KFC

“Sabir is an exceptional leader with deep expertise and knowledge of our business and has a strong, proven track record of growing KFC’s physical and brand presence in markets around the world,” said David Gibbs, CEO of Yum Brands. “As a highly-respected strategic brand builder, operations expert and heart-led leader, Sabir is a natural choice to continue successfully executing KFC’s long-term global growth strategies in close partnership with our franchisees and further elevate KFC as a relevant, easy and distinctive (R.E.D.) brand.”

Sami Sabir graduated in 1988 with a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, Pakistan. He started his career at FMCG giant Proctor and Gamble (P&G) in Australia where he worked as assistant brand manager from 1989 to 1991. Then he transferred to P&G Pakistan where he served as brand manager from 1990-1994. 

Sabir worked for four years at Coca Cola as regional marketing manager in Singapore before moving to Pakistan to work as general manager for Reckitt Benckiser from 2000-2009. He has been with Yum Brands since 2009. 

IBA Karachi has produced many high-profile business and management leaders. Among them is Mr. Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. Aziz served in senior management positions at Citibank in Pakistan,  UAE, United States and elsewhere before returning to Pakistan to serve as Prime Minister under President Pervez Musharraf. Another prominent IBA alumnus is Asad Umar who is  currently a minister in Prime Minister Imran Khan's cabinet. Umar was CEO of Engro Pakistan prior to becoming a government minister. Hasan Malik, an IBA alumnus, is a managing director at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street in New York. Hasan was a McKinsey & Company partner before joining Goldman Sachs. 

The history of advanced business management education in Pakistan began with the founding of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in 1955 in Karachi. It was started in collaboration with the top-ranked Wharton School of Finance & Commerce at University of Pennsylvania. Additional help and support came from University of Southern California and USAID to set up facilities and train faculty. Now there are dozens of very high-quality business schools in the country, including LUMS (Lahore University of Management Sciences) and KSBL (Karachi School of Business Leadership). 

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Riaz Haq said...

Interview: Sabir Sami
Updated 3 days ago
From Nov-Dec 2000: Sabir Sami, recently appointed CEO, Reckitt Benckiser, talks about his plans for revamping the company.

(First published in Nov-Dec 2000)

AURORA: Why were you chosen to be the CEO of Reckitt Benckiser?
Sabir Sami: Reckitt had been through a major change given the merger with Benckiser. Although Benckiser is a much smaller company than Reckitt, it is really Benckiser that has taken over the management of the company. Benckiser has a strong marketing focus, and in terms of the key local person running the business anywhere in the world, they prefer someone with a sales or marketing background because they believe this is the strategic direction needed for the business.

A: As opposed to?
SS: A financial, technical or legal background. It is a given for them that the person running the business must have a sales or marketing background, and I have a marketing background. So that's one factor. Secondly, in many markets they primarily look for youth.

A: Is hiring young a deliberate policy?
SS: They don't have any age barriers, let's put it this way. They're very keen to attract young people and bring energy into the system. So another factor apart from my marketing background was my age, and also the fact that I was around at the right time. Apart from myself, they interviewed many other people as well.

A: Was the fact that you were based in Singapore, and therefore had international exposure, also a plus point?
SS: Yes. They initially wanted an expat for the job. When one of their headhunting firms got hold of me, they only agreed to interview me because of my international experience. They said if he's a Pakistani that's fine but he must have international experience. So during my interview, they focused a lot on my experiences in Singapore and Vietnam.

A: How will the merger with Benckiser affect Reckitt in Pakistan?
SS: Over the last two to three years Reckitt & Colman went through a bad patch globally making it a prime merger opportunity. Benckiser is primarily a US/Western European company. It's a Dutch company based in Holland. Reckitt, because of its British base, was strong in regions once under the British Empire. With the merger, Reckitt has been able to gain a foothold in markets like the US for example, or even Western Europe, where it wasn't very strong, and for Benckiser it was an opportunity to go global. So it's been a win-win situation. The new company's vision statement is "Better solutions for households and personal care" with the ultimate aim of enhancing shareholder value.

A: Benckiser is hardly a household name in Pakistan, what does it make?
SS: Benckiser is strong in products like automatic dishwashing and surface cleaners and water softeners. These sell under various brand names like Calgon and Vanish, which are very strong brands.

A: The brands are better known than the company?
SS: Yes, it's also typical of P&G or Lever's, where people don't know the companies but they know the brands. The same thing applies to Reckitt as well. Consumers have heard of Dettol and Disprin and Cherry Blossom, but not many people know that these brands are produced by the same company. In Pakistan, Benckiser did not exist. So while we've had a name change, we haven't had a financial or a physical merger of two companies. Nevertheless the merger has been dramatic here in terms of the culture changes we are undertaking. Reckitt was a very British company, which had been in Pakistan for 50-odd years. Benckiser, although a Dutch or European company is very aggressive and operates like an American company. It is results-oriented, has no time for politics, and is casual in its approach. And that culture has already taken over at Reckitt Pakistan. Although in Pakistan it hasn't been a case of a lot of Benckiser people coming into the business, nevertheless they've had to change the culture.

Riaz Haq said...

#KFC Launches New Messy Xtreme Featuring 2 Bun Crowns In #Pakistan. It features a pair of bun crowns (no heel) sandwiching a Zinger chicken fillet dunked in the brand’s spicy signature sauce with fresh onions & tomatoes drizzled with mayo at Rs 495 ($2.89)

Things are getting messy at KFC with the debut of the new Messy Xtreme in Pakistan.

Representing KFC’s first-ever double crowned burger in Pakistan, the Messy Xtreme features a pair of bun crowns (no heel) sandwiching a Zinger chicken fillet dunked in the brand’s spicy signature sauce with fresh onions and tomatoes drizzled with mayo.

The Mexxy Xtreme carries a suggested price of 495 Pakistani Rupees, or about $2.89 US dollars.

You can find the Mexxy Xtreme at participating KFC locations across Pakistan for a limited time.