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Business-to-business engagement solutions provider Advantage Group International has appointed Lauren Filen as customer director for Africa. In this role, she will be responsible for retailer engagement and coverage, market revenue growth and key account management in South Africa and the rest of the continent.
Lauren Filen, customer director, Advantage Group Africa
Based in Johannesburg, Filen holds over 30 years of experience across innovation, logistics, sales, marketing and general management in the FMCG sector.
During this time, she has led small, medium and large businesses in leadership roles, including holding the title of chief executive officer at several companies.
During her tenure at PepsiCo, Filen was the first woman and South African to lead the Simba snacks business as CEO.
She then became the CEO of IFFCO, an FMCG conglomerate based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In 2018, Filen started Baobab Nutritional Brands, which involved significant investment in a greenfield manufacturing site, and, most recently, she served as commercial director for The Natures Choice Group.
Private label experience
Advantage Group said that this experience gives Filen a specialised understanding of the challenges affecting businesses in the FMCG, retail, distribution, and manufacturing industries.
She has broad experience in the private label arena, having worked with almost all the key retailers (including Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar, and Clicks) on private label projects. Filen has broad African experience, having worked across sub-Saharan Africa.
Commenting on her appointment, Filen said, “At my core, I’m a collaborator, so I am looking forward to connecting with my team to drive the potential that I know exists in the South African business landscape. The work is exciting – not just with the larger companies but having the opportunity to arm our small companies with data that can really make a difference in their business partnerships.
“In the highly competitive and challenging business environment we find ourselves in, partnering and communicating better is essential to drive competitive advantage, and Advantage Group facilitates and drives these partnerships.”
Dylan Piatti, managing director for Advantage Group Africa, said, “I have no doubt that Lauren will be able to channel her expertise and experience into accelerating customer development in Africa. We are all excited to have someone with her expertise, people skills and business acumen on our team.”