Michael Samson has taken over the reigns of Manica as its Managing Director. Samson is no stranger to Manica. He has worked in the group for 10 years in various Southern African countries. A chartered accountant by profession, Samson has built up an impressive portfolio of experience in different industries across Africa. He was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and obtained a B.Com Hons. Degree at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg.
In 1989 Mike started working at Manica Holdings in South Africa as Group Financial Controller. By 1990 he took over the Project Manager position at Manica Mozambique, where he focused on coastal shipping. “I then joined Manica Zimbabwe as Financial Director tasked with managing the fiances of various companies within Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. At the time Manica Zimbabwe had a staff component of 600 people and a turnover of more than N$100 million per year. The travel agencies in Zimbabwe and Botswana were also part of my portfolio,” said Samson. “As it goes, I wanted to explore my horizons a bit, and I left Manica in 1997 to join Jones Holdings as managing director. The company was involved in construction and the manufacturing of concrete roof tiles. In 1998 I decided to start my own business, called Kempak, venturing into toll manufacturing and repacking agricultural chemicals.”
After a stint in the bottled water industry, Samson found himself in Nigeria working for Nampak Nigeria as Finance and Supply Director by 2013. In the following year he was promoted to Managing Director of Nampak Cartons based in Ibadan, Nigeria. The company produces cartons for various wholesale distributors, such as BAT, Unilever, JTI and Promasidor.
“A lot has changed but much of the core business remains the same,” said Mike about his fist impressions of Manica since his last visit to Walvis Bay. “I can see that there has been a lot of growth and progress in the port and the local industry, however somehow the town still seems similar to a decade or two ago. The Namibian economy is growing and many challenges remain in growing a logistics company beyond what the regional economy can offer. This is an interesting period. The world finds itself in a state of flux. Turning around the depression is going to take some time, however I believe Africa remains a very important axis for future development and growth,” explained Samson.
In terms of his vision for Manica, Samson noted that he believes Manica has a bright future. “By refocusing our core businesses, I believe we should should see Manica play a more prominent role in the cargo movement in and out of Africa through the corridors,” he added. “I believe in doing good business based on three values. I live by the values of Integrity, Respect for people and the environment and Candour (talking openly and honestly is very important),” he said.