David Wright is the managing director of Chemical and Allied Products (CAP) plc, which fully operates in the coatings business providing a wide range of quality products and services. In this interview with Oluwasegun Olakoyenikan, Wright highlights plans of the newly constituted board to broaden the company’s footprint, not only geographically but also in terms of products, to become a dominant player in the Nigerian paint market and also play significantly in the African paint market.
It’s been about four months since your appointment as managing director of CAP plc took effect; what should stakeholders expect from the new management?
Obviously, you have put together a strong board. How do you intend to harness the individual strengths of the members for corporate good?
I think there are a number of aspects. First thing is that they are all very keen to be involved in the business. They are not only just attending board meetings, but they are actually getting involved in what we are doing. They come from a diverse background, but all their experiences are linked to our business. So whether it’s strong finance or acquisition or investment background or whether it’s real estate, they all bring something different to the table which can enhance different parts of our business going forward. But I think the key for me is two things really. One is their enthusiasm and the second is determination. We are going to create a company here that’s going to grow significantly in the future.
I understand that you have invested so much to form this new board. How soon should stakeholders expect yields from this investment in top level human capital?
We also invested in distribution. It’s key that we get our products out to the customers. At the moment, we have 25 Dulux colour sensors. We will have 27 by the end of this year, and our aim is to add another 12 in 2020. The focus is that we have a good product, we have a good top-of-mind recall for the Dulux brand, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to get the product in front of the customers. So we will be investing in distribution quite significantly and we will probably be investing significantly in Caplux, which is our second brand.
Following what you’ve invested in structures and IT, what should your customers look forward to?
Are you also looking at exploring opportunities at least in the ECOWAS region?
Given your vast experience, why did you opt to work in the Nigerian market, particularly CAP plc, at this time?
The Nigeria market is peculiar. How does it compare with other markets where you had worked?
The other part is the development of the market. At the moment in Nigeria, the market is not very heavily developed. For instance, in the construction industry there are lots of small players rather than one or two big players. That’s what keeps the major multinationals away because it’s a difficult market to play in, but I believe that CAP has a great market position in that it’s a very well known company, its brands are very well known and there’s a lot of loyalty to the brand. So, it’s a good place to start to grow from. The market is slow. It’s coming out of what I would see as a pretty bad time. But everything is moving in the right direction. It will very quickly gain momentum. So, I think it will be good to be at the front now than when we get that momentum going.
Given your diverse experience, what good strategy could work for CAP plc at this time?
We want to grow our portfolio to make sure we have products that meet all needs – whether it’s increasing the functionality of the product or whether it’s creating products at different price points so that we can have products for everybody’s spending capacity. In order to do that, we need to make sure we have the right people, we need to invest in our own people or we need to bring in people where we need extra skills, but we believe that the people are what’s going to create the experience for the customers. And then we want to be, if you like, the cheapest cost producer. We want to improve our efficiencies dramatically.
What are the greatest challenges facing the chemical and allied industries in Nigeria?
What is your strategy for surmounting these challenges for CAP plc or converting them to opportunities?
I think it’s simple. My role here is to coach and empower the people we’ve got to achieve the goals. There’s no shortage of desire. This committee has a great image and people enjoy being part of this company. What we’re going to do is empower the people so that they can actually achieve their full potential.