Etosha Fishing Corporation has confirmed the appointment of Nezette Beukes as its new managing director (MD), effective 1 January 2020. Beukes previously held the position of financial director in the company from 2015 and has been acting in the position of MD since the resignation of its former MD Pieter Greeff in December 2018.
Established in the 1940s, Etosha Fishing is a leading player in the Namibian fishing industry and is considered to be one of the foremost round-can production facilities in southern Africa. It is the only remaining operational cannery in Walvis Bay.
Over the years, Etosha Fishing has entrenched its position as an award-winning manufacturer that delivers products of exceptional quality. The company subscribes to the vision “excellence in food processing” and operates under HACCP compliance and EU accreditation. It is also the proud Namibian home of the iconic and market-leading Lucky Star canned pilchard brand and a pioneer in the value-addition drive of Namibia’s horse mackerel with the establishment of its own Efuta Masbanker brand in 2013.
A born and bred Namibian from Walvis Bay, Beukes completed her school career at De Duine High School in Narraville. Determined to succeed in her professional career, Beukes worked her way up through the ranks, starting out as an office administrator and later a sales consultant at a clothing retailer. With a strong sense of purpose and dedication, she completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree through the University of South Africa on a part-time basis while employed at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Since then, her passion, commitment and exceptional competence has landed her prominent financial management positions with leading companies in Walvis Bay before being appointed at Etosha Fishing as financial director.
“Finance is my heartbeat and acting in the position of managing director really took me out of my comfort zone,” Beukes remarked. From the outset, she was faced with severe challenges, as Etosha Fishing has been under pressure to remain operational and sustain jobs as a result of a three-year moratorium imposed on pilchard catches in 2017.
As a pilchard quota holder, the mainstay of Etosha Fishing’s business is the catching and canning of pilchards. The company has devised several business strategies to ensure its cannery remains operational, including the importation of frozen pilchards for local value addition. Beukes is particularly proud of the fact that Etosha Fishing was one of the first companies to can locally caught horse mackerel. Marketed under the Efuta brand, the company has established a very successful local brand, which she hopes to take to new heights.
During the past year, Beukes has already proven her tenacity and skilfully weathered the worst of the storm. “I thrive on challenges. Having a family and working full time while completing my degree was both a challenge and a great accomplishment,” Beukes said.
With the appointment of Beukes as the company’s new MD, Etosha Fishing stands out as a shining beacon of gender inclusivity and women empowerment in the fishing industry. Nearly half of the management team at the company is female, while the majority of the workforce comprised of women.
“To be recognised for our consistent delivery of quality products in this very competitive business environment is not a matter of how many males and females you have employed. We all work together as a team. It should, however, serve as a motivation to women hoping to enter this sector that they can also excel in a traditionally male-dominated world,” Beukes motivated.