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Company announces new appointments for new year

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, December 15, 2012

WITH cheers all around during the festive season, British American Tobacco Fiji issued a timely announcement of two recent appointments across the South Pacific.

In a statement, the company introduced Ritesh Dass as the general manager for BAT Fiji and Thelma Savua as the general manager BAT Samoa.

Reminiscing about his first interview at the BAT office in 1997, Mr Dass said the journey ever since had been overwhelming.

"I started as a quality assurance supervisor until I took up this appointment as general manager," he said.

"Coming back to where it all started for me 15 years ago is very satisfying.

"I believe investing time in developing local talent through opportunities abroad and supporting them in returning to fill key leadership positions in the local market is a strategy that will benefit the individual and their organisation."

Ms Savua shared similar sentiments saying her responsibilities include driving the business agenda in Samoa.

"I used to provide human resource support to our Samoa business back in 2006 and 2007 when I was the HR manager for BAT Fiji as part of the 'one business, many markets' strategy," she said.

"I am truly humbled and very grateful to BAT for providing me the opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge of business.

"My appointment also sends out a strong and clear message to our female colleagues in the BAT world aspiring to be general managers one day — and the message is 'yes we can!'."

BAT Fiji human resource manager Diana Fong said the appointments marked the company's commitment to developing its people — an asset the company holds in high regard.

"It has taken us a number of years to establish this practice but now we are really seeing and reaping the rewards," she said.

"We have three employees in general manager roles among many others that have gone on to achieve their planned career goals.

"To be able to have our local talents in two of the four South Pacific markets where we do business makes us very proud.

"It's not a short-term goal and it doesn't happen overnight.

"Giving people opportunities to shine, to grow and develop, to make an early impact, maximising their talents and supporting their individuality is how it becomes possible."

Ms Fong said BAT Fiji workers were in a unique position to learn from senior managers who came from different countries.

"BAT Fiji will continue to invest in its people because we believe this is what distinguishes a good company from a great company," she said.

She said company managers possessed strong coaching and mentoring skills that each staff member was encouraged to develop.

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