Amit, who leads IT for our Eastern and Southern Africa businesses, particularly enjoys how Darling Kenya allows him to build his technical and project management expertise with a broader role. He has been instrumental in planning and rolling out technical projects across our Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique businesses, and can’t wait to see what follows.

Get to know Amit

 


With the help of his incredibly talented team, Ajay supports our Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda units, besides managing production at our largest site, with 3,100 employees. A big fan of rock climbing, white water rafting, and motorbike riding in the Himalayas, he is very excited about how his growth journey with Darling Kenya will pan out.

Meet Ajay

"Do it for love"

(loves dancing, listening to music, cooking, practising yoga and karate, and dressing fashionably)

May 2003: The start line

When I joined Darling in 2003, I was required to connect with consumers from across the Kenyan market, whereby we introduced Darling pink lotion and braid spray, which became the leading oil moisturiser and braid spray in the market. A year later, I moved on from cosmetics, in order to focus on dry hair. My role comprised training hairdressers about products, by introducing mod acrylic braids in east Africa market. A year later, I introduced a salon loyalty programme "fidelity" in the region, which linked

salons with the brand Darling. In 2006, I was associated with the head of R&D and production Mr. Andre Saar for market trend research and style creation, whereby we started launching quite a number of items such as Abuja, flat irons, salsa, rumba, etc.

January 2008: The biggest challenge ever

My career track changed. Following my journey from hair stylist to hair technician, I became the R&D and production assistant manager. My role comprised being in charge of the factory opening and closing, production coordination and being the salons team manager. This really gave me a big opportunity to learn and manage people, machinery and fibre.

November 2010: Becoming a professional orphan

Following the demise of my immediate manager, I had to stand on my own two feet and prove myself as an innovator. It was a big challenge to fit into my talented boss' shoes. However, what kept me going was the promise to make him proud, before he passed. I applied my philosophy of "doing what I do for love", and it held me in good stead. With the help of KANEKALON, and the support of my mentor CEO Mahmoud, I was able to overcome my fears.

Today

I am now the country NPD, QA & Demand Creation head in Kenya. I divide my time between market "salon" factories and New Product Development.

A qualified fashion designer, hair designer and beautician, Olivier completed a diploma in Hairdressing from L'Oréal France (1994) and a Fashion & Beauty diploma from TCB Brazza College (1998).

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"Do it for love"

(loves dancing, listening to music, cooking, practising yoga and karate, and dressing fashionably)

May 2003: The start line

When I joined Darling in 2003, I was required to connect with consumers from across the Kenyan market, whereby we introduced Darling pink lotion and braid spray, which became the leading oil moisturiser and braid spray in the market. A year later, I moved on from cosmetics, in order to focus on dry hair. My role comprised training hairdressers about products, by introducing mod acrylic braids in east Africa market. A year later, I introduced a salon loyalty programme "fidelity" in the region, which linked

salons with the brand Darling. In 2006, I was associated with the head of R&D and production Mr. Andre Saar for market trend research and style creation, whereby we started launching quite a number of items such as Abuja, flat irons, salsa, rumba, etc.

January 2008: The biggest challenge ever

My career track changed. Following my journey from hair stylist to hair technician, I became the R&D and production assistant manager. My role comprised being in charge of the factory opening and closing, production coordination and being the salons team manager. This really gave me a big opportunity to learn and manage people, machinery and fibre.

November 2010: Becoming a professional orphan

Following the demise of my immediate manager, I had to stand on my own two feet and prove myself as an innovator. It was a big challenge to fit into my talented boss' shoes. However, what kept me going was the promise to make him proud, before he passed. I applied my philosophy of "doing what I do for love", and it held me in good stead. With the help of KANEKALON, and the support of my mentor CEO Mahmoud, I was able to overcome my fears.

Today

I am now the country NPD, QA & Demand Creation head in Kenya. I divide my time between market "salon" factories and New Product Development.

A qualified fashion designer, hair designer and beautician, Olivier completed a diploma in Hairdressing from L'Oréal France (1994) and a Fashion & Beauty diploma from TCB Brazza College (1998).

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"Be calm and find success"

(enjoys rock climbing, white water rafting, and motorbike riding in the Himalayas)

February 2013: The start line

I joined Darling Kenya in early 2013, a business entity, which had partnered with Godrej Consumer Products Limited from India. Manufacturing hair extensions from synthetic fiber was a totally new experience for me, and I was well groomed for that, in the months to come.

May 2013: My first role

After training in Nairobi, my first role as assistant production manager required me to travel to Tanzania and assist in production. Manufacturing there was a big challenge for the business, at the time. But over a period of 8-9 months, with the full support of the local management, our team managed to overcome the language barrier with 1,200 local employees, and centralised manufacturing for East Africa. This was a fantastic learning experience for me.

February 2014: Back to Kenya

In early 2014, I was asked if I would like to move back to Kenya.

For me, Kenya was the ideal location because of its pleasant weather, natural beauty and the lack of any communication barriers. At the time, ERP implementation for the business was in the process, and the management team deemed me the right fit to help out on the project, given my prior experience on SAP. Along with ERP implementation, I was working on building my production team to increase productivity.

Today

In 2015, I was promoted as production manager. I now support our units in Kenya and neighbouring countries (Tanzania and Uganda) as well. I am now the production manager of the largest site, with 3,100 employees and recently received 'Best Performer' appreciation from the CEO of East Africa. I am very excited about where this will lead me to next.

Ajay completed a degree in Chemical Engineering from Panjab University, Chandigarh (2006).

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"Technology for excellence"

(enjoys reading technology journals)

March 2013: The start line

After landing at Nairobi airport, I navigated through the beautiful Nairobi city, looking around and observing the many opportunities the country had to offer. I enjoyed the travel, fumbling through new languages, and meeting new people from different backgrounds every day.

May 2013: My big break

My first assignment was as IT manager for the Darling Kenya business. Within the first six months of this stint, I was able to implement a number of key infrastructural changes. My key focus was on overseeing a point-to-point

connection between our Nairobi office and the Godrej headquarters in Mumbai. It was a great breakthrough. A year later, I was offered the opportunity to head IT for our Eastern Africa cluster. With this role, I had the chance to introduce a number of key infrastructural changes in Uganda and Tanzania also.

With the added responsibility of overseeing Southern Africa, I now lead a technical team of over eight people. Working across the continent has proven to be a great learning experience.

August 2013: The next challenge

Soon after, my main focus was on building my technical and project management experience with a broader project management role. With GCPL expanding its wings across the African continent, this has offered the perfect opportunity for me.

Today

I started off with managing the IT team in Kenya. Today, going on my third year with Godrej, I am the IT head of East and Southern Africa, covering our Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique businesses. It has been a great experience for me, planning and rolling out technical projects across these countries. I can’t wait to see what follows!

Amit has an M.Sc. in Computer Science from M.D. University, India (2004), a PGDCA from Delhi Business School Madurai Kamaraj University, India (2002), and GNIIT from NIIT Gurgaon India (1999). He also holds Project Management Professional (PMP) and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certifications from India.

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"I am what I do"

(loves music and cooking)

June 2005: The start line

Fresh out of college, I got a chance to join the Darling Group as a sales representative. This was challenging and enjoyable, since it provided me the opportunity to meet with so many people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. I learnt a lot from the market, and managed to deliver sales targets.

January 2008: My big break

The then CFO saw the potential in me, and requested me to contact all the customers, give them the balances and ask for payments. I was reluctant at first, not knowing this was the

beginning of my new role and the creation of a credit control department. I gave it my best and our growth has been tremendous, with a significant increase in our outlets and branches as well.

January 2012: The transition

Having pioneered the department, I got new members onboard, whom I trained on my daily duties and each one of us got a region to handle. We managed to make a smooth transition from the then 'Strategic Industries Limited' to 'Style Industries Limited' within the same year.

Today

My desire to learn more and achieve higher results landed me at my current role. Today, I am heading all accounts receivable (AR) for Darling Kenya under the umbrella of GCPL. I have faced some challenges along the way, but I am determined to overcome all obstacles and deliver the best ever results as I develop myself.

Rhodah has a Higher Diploma in Sales and Marketing.

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