BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Former Tobacco Sales Limited (TSL) chief executive officer Patrick Devenish has said there was nothing sinister about his short stint at the helm of the group after he left the position early this month following the appointment of Dereck Odoteye as the new boss.
Odoteye, who was the chief finance officer, was with effect from February 1, 2020 appointed the group chief executive, taking over from Devenish.
Devenish was appointed group CEO in February 2018, replacing veteran banker Washington Matsaira, who was at the helm of the company for almost six years.
Devenish said there were no sour grapes between him and TSL, adding he left after accomplishing his job of grooming his successor.
“My job was to work with Dereck and prepare him to be the CEO and now that job is done. And I am now doing consultancy for the company. There was nothing funny about it as it was a well-planned thing. Dereck is a very fine man,” Devenish told NewsDay Business.
Asked if his exit had anything to do with perceived conflict of interest as he also doubled as the chairperson for the tobacco sector regulator, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), Devenish said: “No, there was never a conflict there. For many years, TIMB has been having a chairperson who were involved in tobacco business,”
Devenish was not new to the group, having previously worked as the managing director of TSL flagship unit, Tobacco Sales Floor.
TSL is a leading Zimbabwean company focusing mainly on logistics, supply of farming inputs, tobacco growing, wrapping, auctioning, printing and packaging.
Listed in 1957, the group has grown to become a holding company of TSL Classic Leaf, Propak, Bak Logistics, Agricura, Avis, TSF, TSL Properties, TSL Trading and TSL Greenbelt.
TSL recorded a 19% jump in revenue to $52,1 million in the full year to October 2018 driven by a strong performance of its agriculture-related business.
Profit-after-tax more than doubled to $12,9 million compared to the $4,8 million recorded in the previous year.