Hans Essaadi comes back to Egypt with his many spectacular projects. After just a couple months in his position he has already started many different projects and still has several surprises to come. We got the chance to sit down and chat with the marvelous man himself, he told us about everything he is up to and got to know him on a more personal level and not just professionally.
What first drew you to the F&B scene? Tell us how you started and ended up Managing Director of Al Ahram Beverages.
I started my career 25 years ago in HEINEKEN in Holland. I had a stint with the company when I was a student and I have decided ever since that this is where I’d like to work. After graduation, I sent them a ‘request for employment’ letter and they accepted me. That was the only employment letter I ever wrote! Since then, I have held many sales positions across Europe, the Caribbean and the Middle East. Before coming to Egypt, I was the MD in HEINEKEN Malaysia.
Al Ahram Beverages has recently introduced a new line-up of local drinks, including Devlin whiskey, which is the first single malt Egyptian brand of its kind. How do you anticipate it will affect the market?
I believe Devlin will fill a considerable gap in the market; given the increased prices of imported whisky. Devlin provides consumers with single malt premium whisky at a competitive price point.
Al Ahram is constantly adding new names to its shelves; will the company be introducing any champagne brands soon?
We already have Valmont our sparkling wine in both white and rose BUT stay tuned for something new coming soon from ABC….
You’ve held managerial positions in the field around the world, in both the Middle East and Europe. How has your exposure to myriads of cultures made you better at what you do?
It is always an enriching experience to work among different cultures and environments – it gives you a diverse perspective to things. It also taught me a lot on being more open minded, looking at things from different angles as there is no one way. There is always something new to learn with every situation and you continuously seek to improve yourself.
What motivates and drives you?
I’m always motivated by people and the idea of dreaming big and realizing or coming to achieve the shared dream together. It’s fascinating and inspiring.
Would you consider yourself a risk taker?
I believe in the saying that with no risk there is no reward. I would consider myself a calculated risk taker because with the responsibilities I have it’s not ‘responsible’ to take uncalculated risks. It always takes some courage to take risks and at ABC that’s one of our key words; look at Devlin launch as a clear example for that!
What would you say are the key elements to leading a successful career path?
Being always true to yourself and who you are and to always be determined.
What/who inspires you?
In the HEINEKEN context, I’d say it’s our entrepreneurship mindset that enables us to work hard in extreme environments and grow the business successfully. I am also very inspired by young talents when they progress quickly; it always inspires me to see people who have dreamt big and truly realized their dreams.
How do you deal with a bad day at work?
Hitting the gym! Aside from this, I am a golfer and I like to ski; both require total concentration and focus on the now so they fully distract me and take my mind off anything else.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I like to go out, meet friends, and enjoy a nice meal.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who’s starting out in the field, what would it be?
It will be to dream big. I always believe that nothing is unachievable and to never give up. Also, to have passion and to always be prepared because with good preparation comes confidence and this automatically reflects on those around you; they feel your
Creating long term directions and being more ready for the future.