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21. Jan, 10:16
Ad ID: 1277468
Application deadline 28. Feb

Chief Operations Officer for innovative, fast growing flavors company

Other Arusha District Arusha
Application deadline
Business / Employer name
Natural Extracts Industries Ltd
Company Industry
Job Level
Executive level
Work Type
Full Time
Minimum Qualification
Years of Experience
12 years


Natural Extracts Industries Ltd (NEI) is pioneering the sustainable, natural flavour manufacturing industry in Tanzania for global export, starting with vanilla and other flavour extracts. The company works in all areas from cultivation, to post-harvest processing, value-add manufacturing and international sales and marketing. The smallholder outgrower network currently integrates over 4,000 vanilla farmers from Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Morogoro and Kagera regions, and through this sourcing model NEI aims to deliver a long term socioeconomic impact by doubling annual income per smallholder household. The company also works with farmer groups in Mbeya and Tanga regions for cocoa beans sourcing. Current products include: liquid flavours, such as extracts from vanilla, orange, cocoa and coffee; and solid flavours like vanilla pods, cocoa powder and nibs. The company, funded and managed by an experienced international management team, has been widely recognised, including awards from the Nestle Creating Shared Value Prize and Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund. It is embarking on a high growth trajectory, particularly in expanding its production capacity, supply chain and product diversification.

Role responsibilities

The Chief Operating Officer will be responsible for the following activities:

  • Together with the CEO/Managing Director, directing the company, developing strategic initiatives, managing investor relations, securing growth funding, managing costs within board-approved annual budgets, ensuring healthy profits, and having accountability for the effective and efficient operation of each team and function (sales, production, quality assurance, supply chain, finance, HR and legal).

  • Developing and managing each team towards achieving the objectives of each team and the company as a whole.

  • Developing and improving the operational systems, processes and policies for all teams, optimising their processes and workflows, enforcing compliance with policies, applying lean principles to reduce wasted time and resources, and generally optimise the performance of each team.

  • Developing the capacity and capabilities of all staff, both informally and through the formal performance management process.

  • Process & Operations Management:

    • Ensuring excellent management of the production, quality assurance and supply chain teams, particularly in regards to the vanilla and cocoa value chains, and manufacturing thereof, and ensuring all short and long term company and team objectives are met and underlying risks mitigated**.**

    • Support all teams in:

      • Procuring, cost-effectively, adequate equipment, consumables and raw materials (e.g., raw vanilla and cocoa, production consumables, ancillary equipment & spares, technology systems, lab materials, etc.);
        • Improving the supply of key raw materials (e.g., vanilla, cacao), in terms of increased quality, volumes, productivity and land under cultivation, in a cost-effective manner;
        • Controlling and reconciling team expenditure against materials, services and labor, and ensuring all activities are carried out in compliance with company policies;
        • Ensuring outstanding company reputation and quality of service with all key stakeholders (farmers, government authorities, customers);
        • Managing technology solutions, and related reporting and analytics, e.g., for mobile-enabled field team management, inventory management, workflow enhancements, etc;
        • Ensuring the company monitors and meets social impact indicators and targets, including indirect beneficiaries;
        • Managing certification of, and compliance with, national and international standards (e.g., regulatory, occupational safety, food safety, organic, etc).
        • Ensuring continual operational improvement (e.g., Kaizen, lean ops).
        • Implementing value-added services for farmers, e.g., linkages to financial services, community development, climate smart technology, etc;
  • Compliance & Internal Controls

    • Support all teams in:

      • Overseeing support functions (Finance, HR and Legal) for all aspects of the company’s financial and HR management, and legal counsel, particularly in regards to strategic growth (new initiatives and international expansion), internal controls and regulatory compliance (e.g., TRA, BRELA, OSHA, Fire, NEMC, Municipal and District bylaws, Crop Boards, Bank of Tanzania, etc);
        • Defining, instituting and enforcing financial and HR policies and procedures, and assisting in the execution thereof, including, for example, recruitment, employee relations, leave management, payroll and statutory payments, withholding taxes, value-add tax, inventory control and monthly inventory audits, monthly bank reconciliations, petty cash audits, timesheets, expense reimbursements, etc;
        • Providing input to government ministries and regulatory bodies in respect of the Company’s primary value chains and how these can be positioned and strengthened within the global competitive context;
        • Reviewing and ensuring correctness of financial and operational reports to team leads, management, the Board of Directors, shareholders, other investors/financiers and donors;
        • Supporting the management of any subsidiaries, holding companies and franchise companies, both within Tanzania and abroad.
  • Government Relations

    • Leading the continual engagement of government authorities, supporting and representing all teams who deal with regulatory and compliance topics;
    • Staying abreast of updates on government policies and legislation, particularly monitoring publications in Tanzania’s Official Gazette;
    • Raising the profile of the company at national level, e.g., by engaging with relevant ministries.
  • Strategy & Funding

    • Setting the strategic direction of the company (together with the MD) and of the constituent teams (together with team leads), developing strategic initiatives, securing funding for such initiatives, and ensuring completion and effectiveness of such initiatives, as will benefit stakeholders including the organisation as a whole, suppliers (e.g., farmers and processors), investors and shareholders, and ultimately the regional economy;
    • Assisting the MD in securing all manner of growth funding to achieve the company’s vision and mission, analysing financials and operational data, and writing investor and donor reports/proposals.
  • Other

    • Following up on meetings and with external contacts to assist the CEO/Managing Director and Board Directors;
    • Assisting in the preparation of general paper work for submission to government entities, parastatal organisations, investors, donors and other parties, as may be needed by the Company;
    • Any other duties as may be required from time to time by the CEO/Managing Director or Board Director(s), and to assist peers and other team leads/officers as needed.

Desired skills

The COO will have the following qualifications and competencies:

  • Applicants must meet this minimum criteria (otherwise they will not be considered):

  • Undergraduate degree or equivalent in Engineering or Science, with a Masters in Business Administration, Finance, Economics, or equivalent.

  • At least 10 years of experience, preferably 15, in executive-level management positions, including significant experience at an international company;

  • Expertise in agribusiness, outgrower networks, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), engineering (mechanical, process, chemical), and/or food technology;

  • Exceptional organisational and interpersonal skills, able to relate to multiple foreign cultures, and manage people effectively in difficult circumstances;

  • Outstanding ability to negotiate effectively with all stakeholders, including customers, contractors, farmers, farmer associations, service providers, agents, government (all levels), donors, investors, shareholders, directors and staff;

  • Outstanding communication skills, both spoken and written, in both English and Swahili;

  • Very highly skilled in general ICT management, ICT security, and computer productivity packages such as Microsoft Office, Google G Suite and ERP systems;

  • Demonstrated strong leadership, able to inspire and influence others, set their teams’ strategy and lead their work independently;

  • A passion for economic development, social impact and science-based decision making.

Organisational structure

  • Reports to: CEO/Managing Director
  • Line reports: Supplier Chain Operations Officer (to be hired), Business Operations Officer (to be hired)
  • Dotted line reports: Sales Manager, Operations Lead, QA Lead, Plantation & Sustainability Lead, Finance Lead, and HR Lead

The COO, as thought-partner to the CEO, will improve each team's systems & processes and institute operational rigor across the company.

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