A primary objective of the Brunei Government is the establishment of the Brunei Halal brand (BHB) as the world’s leading premium brand for Halal food products. In partnership with a leading 3PL the establishment of BHB is one of the true cornerstones of the diversification of the Brunei economy, and a key plank to deliver sustained export income to this sovereign state.
A key driver of this Greenfield operation was the hiring of the CEO who would be accountable for the delivery of matters strategic, operational, finance and the development of new markets (sales and marketing) initially in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), followed by the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the US.
With a mature Halal community existing within the GCC it was jointly determined that we would confine the search to those key countries that make up this dynamic region, and offer the successful executive the opportunity to domicile in Brunei for the duration of his tenure.
The industry segment to be targeted centered on consumer goods with the development of key markets and strategic partnerships within the Halal community deemed of vital importance.
The Brunei Government through the establishment of the Brunei Halal brand (BHB) aimed to be the premium provider of a comprehensive supply chain management system from Australia and Asia for export to the Halal food and hospitality service industry worldwide under a single brand entity.
A specific “Brunei Halal Brand” was to be developed for the packaging and marketing of a range of Halal food products. The brand would remain the exclusive asset of the Brunei government and would be a registered trade mark of the Brunei government.
In partnering with a leading 3PL the proposed integrated supply chain management systems would take into account the following key components:
a) Sourcing a comprehensive range of Halal products.
b) Procuring those products via established connections.
c) Compiling and packing for container loading.
d) Managing for quality control at source.
e) Managing logistics and associated warehousing
f) Facilitation and management of the marketing and brand building programme.
g) Partnering with suitably qualified and experienced distributors.
The specific Halal products that would constitute the Brunei Halal brand included the following:
a) Snack foods and confectionary ranges.
b) Canned fruit and vegetables.
c) Spices and Condiments.
d) Breakfast foods and energy drinks.
f) Pasta and rice products.
g) Meat, seafood and dairy products.
h) Asian specialty lines.
i) Cooking oils.
The chosen competencies included the following:
a) Exposure to the GCC food sector.
b) Sales/Marketing/BDM exposure.
c) Greenfield experience.
d) Well established networks/distributors and retailers.
e) Proven leadership skills.
f) Strategic decision making.
g) Charismatic/motivational skills.
h) Problem solving skills.
i) Financial dexterity.
j) Relationship management skills.
k) Able to gain confidence of the Board.
l) Proactive and independent behaviors.
m) Willingness to re-locate and settle in Brunei.
It was determined and agreed that we would undertake a search in the GCC in addition to securing the interest of any key executives possessing considerable experience (10 years +) in this region. Naturally those targeted would possess the requisite knowledge in the development of a Halal brand, and be preferably employed (past or present) with an established global consumer goods brand.
In all 218 contacts were made across 18 countries with the vast majority being based in the GCC or having relevant prior exposure to this region.
During this search we were able to secure the keen interest of over 25 executives with face-to-face interviews conducted with 16 of these. We short listed 5 for final consideration with the Board narrowing the field to 3 before undertaking final screening and evaluation in Brunei.
In order to determine those key targets we made contact with all available trade associations, food councils, Halal associations, relevant chambers of commerce, research houses, marketing agencies, dairy manufacturers, retail chains and shopping centre owners/managers, management consultancies and distributors in order to develop the body of knowledge from which to aggressively conduct this search.
In the pursuit much valuable knowledge was secured from sources far and wide including the UK, Canada, US, Australia and Malaysia in addition to the GCC and much of this related to relevant experience including past decision making (both positive and negative); the type of products that would make an immediate impact and why; the strength of competitive activity; the strategic importance of being aligned with the most powerful distribution channels and the value of attending local trade shows. As a result every key stakeholder group including hypermarket chains and consumer goods brands that existed in the GCC were contacted in order to secure the interest of those executives to be short listed.