John Mackay – sales director Plascon

DIY: Morning John, tell us a little about yourself.
JM: I matriculated from Dundee High School and then went on to study a B.Com degree at Natal University. However, two years into my studies my father passed away and I decided to take over the family frozen food business in Dundee. Eight years later I sold the business to the Cold Chain.

After 1990, when I sold the family business, I continued in the food sector, working for ICS Foods, SA Breweries and Premier Foods. Then, about 24 months ago I was scooped up by Plascon. The company was looking for someone with experience in the FMCG industry.

DIY: Tell us about some of the bigger challenges which the company dealt with in the past?
JM: The current challenge of the depressed global economy probably outweighs most of those smaller challenges of ensuring excellent customer service at all times.

DIY: What are Plascon’s strengths?
JM: Its people and its brands

DIY: What inspires you?
JM: Developing people and seeing their success because of this. A business is only as good as its people.

DIY: What will be the major obstacles for the company over the next 3-5 years?
JM: Growing market share, managing costs and seeing through the downturn in the economy.

DIY: Where do you see the company’s next opportunities for growth?
JM: There are opportunities in all our market segments – there are a number of categories, channels and geographies that we do not feature in and we would like to change that.

DIY: What is Plascon’s philosophy for success?
JM: Three words; simplify, hunger and delivery.

DIY: What is the secret of your success?
JM: The ability to focus on what is required – not to see the mountain, but to see over the mountain. I’m fortunate that my career included the FMCG environment as the current challenges experienced by the paint market are similar to what the food industry experienced some years ago.

DIY: ‘Development’ and ‘uplifting the community’ are the buzz-words at the moment. Is the company involved in any such projects?
JM: One of the most recent projects was National Colour Day, one of Plascon’s major CSI initiatives. This year Plascon donated R300 000 to the South African National Council for the Blind, thereby making 200 cataract operations possible. Other CSI projects throughout the year include the painting of old age and children’s homes.

DIY: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
JM: Continuing to help Plascon to lead in the local market.

DIY: Do you have any advice for aspiring youngsters?
JM: Be clear in your goals and totally committed to achieving them.

Fact Box

Names: John Mackay
DOB: 2 May 1964
Designation: Sales director at Plascon
Family:Wife, daughter Kirsty (14) and son Shane (12)
Favourite food: Seafood
Preferred drink: Whisky
First car: Peugeot 504
Star sign: Taurus
Music: Meat Loaf
Favourite hardware tool: Golf club
Person you would share an island with? Sandra Bullock
Role model: I’m fortunate to have worked with many special people and it is therefore hard to single out anyone in particular.
Favourite quote: God gave you eyes on the front of your head to enable you to look forward and not behind you.