Sub-Saharan Africa Talent mapping – FMCG commercial

Case Study


Competition for talent in Africa is now fierce with a considerable number of global FMCG groups now focusing on increasing the bench strength of local and regional talent for the present and future. In addition, organisations are keen to identify regional talent that possesses highly desirable mature market experience as opposed to an over reliance on expatriate talent. Specific demographics are also being targeted to address gender, racial and ethnic diversity ratios/agendas.


Sub-Saharan Africa was and still is a high commercial growth focus for our client and it was recognized that there was a strategic need to increase the size of the Management Reservoir within it. We were asked to develop a talent map across the region, targeting both Director level talent, as well as high potential managers, for positions of:

  • Country Manager, General Manager, Commercial Director
  • Commercial Functional Directors, Marketing, Sales, Trade & Distribution Managers

Parameters of search:

Nationality: SSA Nationals (Priority: South Africans, Kenyans and Nigerians. Secondary: Ghanaians, Ivorian’s, Congolese & Angolan)
Of high interest was identifying talent currently overseas, or professionals with previous mature market experience. Western European & US returning talent was of particular interest given the volume of relevant professionals in those markets
Gender Diversity: Manners Maclean International worked in conjunction with STANDOUT Gender Diversity to ensure optimum reach and engagement with relevant African female professionals both in the region and working overseas.
 Sectors: Commercial talent with ‘like for like’ category experience in Global FMCG Groups.
Functions: Marketing (Consumer & Trade, Insights, Digital, Innovation);
Commercial expertise (Sales, Trade, Distribution management, RTM, BD);
General: Potential to grow 2+ steps in the organization within 10 years; Entrepreneurial, with ability to manage complexity; ability to work “on the ground” and in large and small businesses with limited resources; Ability to operate in the uncertain environment; Motivated to develop their careers in other AME countries.


Total candidates pooled:

Q1 Sub Saharan Africa: 37 Marketing & 19 Commercial
Q2 Sub Saharan Africa: 35 Marketing & 30 Commercial
Q3 Sub Saharan Africa: 20 Marketing & 19 Commercial

Proactive interviewing of selected profiles took place throughout the talent pooling initiative wherein the MMI and STANDOUT teams achieved a near 50/50 gender balance. This was driven by either immediate requirements, generic talent upgrading or instances where a very specific or unique talent had been identified.

Marketing: Sub-Saharan Africa: 7 (3 Male; 4 Female)
Sales: Sub-Saharan Africa: 5 (3 Male; 2 Female)
GM: Sub-Saharan Africa: 1  (Female)