Godfrey Machanzi bows out of BAT job; Kimesh Naidoo Heir apparent
British American Tobacco, Retail

British American Tobacco Zambia has announced the resignation of its Chief Executive, Godfrey Machanzi, from his executive director position at the cigarette manufacturing company.


In accordance with Section 3.59 of the Lusaka Securities Exchange Listings Requirements the Board of Directors of British American Tobacco Zambia Plc wishes to announce the resignation of Mr Godfrey Machanzi as Managing Director and Executive Director of the Board effective 31 December 2019”, read a statement issued on SENS by Zoe Chisanga Chiliboyi, BAT Zambia’s Acting Company Secretary on 3rd October 2019.


Godfrey becomes the latest executive director leave the Michael Mundashi led board. In April 2019, the company announced that two executive directors would be leaving the company. They were subsequently replaced by resources from BAT HQ. Then in August 2019, the company further announced the exit of its Company Secretary.

BAT is known to freshen up its CEO position in 2 to 4-year cycles. “We normally rotate MDs with the group after between 2 and 4 years“, said Godfrey following a LinkedIn conversation with the founder of Financial insight.

In what appears as a timed hand over of power, Godfrey’s replacement has also been announced in Kimesh Naidoo. “Furthermore, the Board would like to announce the appointment of Mr Kimesh Naidoo as Managing Director Designate and Executive Director of the Board effective 26 September 2019 subject to ratification by the shareholders at the next General Meeting”. With Godfrey’s final day being 31 December 2019, this means the incoming CEO will have Q4 to bring himself up to speed with the running of the Zambian outfit.


A holder of an MBA from Stellenbosch University and a post-grad engineering degree from Hochschule Augsburg in Germany, Godfrey has been a company man with the BAT group, according to his LinkedIn profile. His career with the tobacco processing company can be traced back to 2006 where he was appointed Business Development Manager. This was followed by a stint as General Manager for the company’s Swaziland and Lesotho outfits before taking over the Zambia job which held for over 5 years until the resignation announcement.


Godfrey’s tenure will be remembered for his team’s bold decision to construct a cigarette manufacturing plant in the Lusaka South Multi Facilitate Economic Zone at a cost of US$ 25 million aimed at localizing its brand portfolio in Zambia following the impact of tax that threatened the company’s business model in Zambia. With this decision, his board chair admitted that this was the turnaround that would greatly help the company protect shareholder value. However, he also admitted that illicit cigarettes were the key-value destroyers of his industry.

In his last full financial year, the Company recorded an increase in turnover of 34% amounting to K165.2million during the 2018 period compared to the K123.3 million recorded in the same period in the previous year, according to financial statements from the company.

Prior to Godfrey’s replacement’s appointment, Naidoo has “worked for various companies over the past 17 years and has previously held the positions of Director of Customer Care with South African Breweries, IT Finance Manager with Standard Bank South Africa and Audit Manager with KPMG”. His understanding of the region makes him an interesting choice for the role as the company repositions itself as now being a local manufacturer.

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