Umar believes that people come first at RB and that freedom to succeed is part of the RB culture.
Umar Khan has worked at RB for seven years, in Turkey, Pakistan, UK and Dubai. He's now marketing director for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.
Freedom to succeed is part of our culture at RB. At RB, you control your destiny. We like to empower people; and give them full autonomy and accountability – driving a culture of meritocracy.
Speed of decision making is very important for the industry we operate in. There is a reason it is called 'Fast' moving consumer goods. As leaders, we are often faced with situations where we don't have all the data, but we have to be decisive. People look up to us to 'cut through bureaucracy' and dismantle roadblocks to get things moving. I'm glad we have moved to a simpler organization structure that enables faster decision making.
Through our brands, we can truly make a difference in consumers' lives. This is not just a feel-good statement; but something very tangible. You look at Mortein and the role it is playing in fighting deadly diseases like Zika, Malaria and Dengue. Similarly, Harpic in developing markets working to eliminate open defaecation and providing one-to-one education to millions of households. We can and must wear this lens to infuse more purpose in what we do – and uphold with utmost care the trust consumers put on our brands.
I'm very proud of the work RB has undertaken to better serve consumers who cannot afford our products today. In my previous role as Global Brand Marketing Manager Harpic, I was working on a single dose, Rs 5 (5 cent) Harpic to serve consumers in semi-urban and rural India. This was a project involving lot of complexity; and it was really heart-warming to see the passion from everyone (R&D, Packaging, Supply, CMI, India IMEX team) to make this a reality. We recently launched this proposition; and I truly believe it will be instrumental in breaking the affordability barrier and providing better hygiene solution to approx. 50 million households in India!
Entrepreneurship is a truly differentiating value for RB. We encourage people to think out of the box, think big and do things differently. When you think of 'all the possibilities' without restricting yourself, you can create magic. Recently, I'm quite excited by the work we are undergoing to drive a 'Dishwash revolution' in Saudi Arabia. The country is at the cusp of social, economic and demographic change – and our role in educating consumers about the benefits of dishwashing will be pivotal to accelerate the 'Inflection point'.
You have to do what you believe is right, even if it's a bitter pill to swallow. My 'watershed' moment came when I moved to Turkey in 2013/2014 to handle the Finish business. Competition was all over us, and we were grappling with how to halt this momentum while protecting the financial structure of our business. There are times when you have to do a deep and 'brutally honest' assessment of the situation and make tough choices. In this case, we had to plough back big investments to ensure our product proposition and value to consumers is superior to that of competition. There were several tough conversations with senior management, but I never felt I was held from expressing my point of view.
At RB, you are never in your comfort zone. The moment you start getting that feeling, there will be another opportunity to stretch your limits further. In my seven years with RB, I have worked in four countries in very different roles. I really cherish the 'alternate view' working with such a diverse group of people brings. You work with consumers, customers and people who have such a different starting point in life; which shapes their habits, choices and importantly their dreams! I feel incredibly lucky of being given this opportunity to learn from these diverse set of people every day.