New appointments as GZ Industries prepares for expansion

Simon Jennings is the new board chairman for GZ Industries GZ Industries (GZI), one of West Africa’s largest beverage can manufacturers, welcomed Tom Stephenson as its new CEO in December 2015. Packaging industry veteran, Simon Jennings, took up the role of board chairman.

New CEO Stephenson foresees growth

With over 15 years’ senior-level experience building multi-national businesses, Stephenson brings extensive understanding of growing customer-focused multi-site, multi-country operations in Africa and the Middle-East. He joins GZI from Industrial Capital Partners, a private equity firm, where he was a partner.

He was born in East Africa, raised in Asia and has worked across Europe, the US, Africa and the Middle-East. He has a degree in Economics and International Relations, and an MBA from INSEAD.

‘I am honoured to join GZI and look forward to working together with this experienced team at a very exciting juncture in the company’s history,’ says Stephenson. ‘The business is transforming from a Nigeria-focused aluminium can manufacturing company to a multi-market, African can and glass packing solutions provider. This journey towards leveraging intra-African opportunities will bring us closer to our customers and enable us to deliver on the company’s ambitious and exciting growth strategy.’

New GZI chairman Simon Jennings comments: ‘Tom is a perceptive and focused business leader who has enjoyed immense professional success. His extensive senior management experience and wealth of global markets knowledge will no doubt be an asset to the business as we continue on our expansion trajectory across the continent.’

Jennings thanked retiring CEO Motti Goldmintz for creating and building GZI to what it is today. Motti will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

New board chairman promises commitment to sub-Saharan Africa

Jennings is a seasoned industry executive with a wealth of knowledge of the beverage and packaging sector. His experience spans time at GZI in a director’s role and many years in senior roles at Rexam PLC and other major packaging groups.

In 2013, Jennings became the independent non-executive director of GZI, following which he was appointed to vice chairman in October 2014. In the fourth quarter of 2015 he accepted the chairman role, overseeing the group’s further expansion through the acquisition of Frigoglass.

Jennings’ appointment follows GZI’s stated intentions to expand its operations across the African continent. The group announced plans to acquire Frigoglass glass operations and construct additional facilities in Kenya and South Africa. Read more about the South African expansion here.

‘I am excited about my new role in the company and the challenge ahead,’ adds Jennings. ‘With the food and beverage sector rapidly expanding across the continent, we are committed to becoming sub-Saharan Africa’s largest packaging solution provider to the beverage industry.’