After successfully leading Serendib Flour Mills for 15 years, the company’s former CEO Sathak Abdul Kadar has been appointed as Serendib Flour Mills’ new Chairman with effect from 1st of May 2015. With decades of experience behind him, Sathak will now play an advisory role at the company, handling legal affairs and building government and consumer trust in the Serendib and ‘7 Star’ brands. Humble, warm and polite, Sathak Abdul Kadar overcame significant challenges to set up the company and has since then helped establish a strong market and brand presence for Serendib Flour Mills in Sri Lanka.
The end of one journey, and the beginning of another: Sathak Abdul Kadar after 15 years, will be handing over his day-to-day operational work and focusing on sharing his expertise as the Chairman of the company. Commenting on what he has enjoyed most during his tenure, he stated, “I have valued working with my investors, management and customers. I learnt very early on that the customer is always right, we will always listen closely to our customers and work tirelessly to ensure their satisfaction. Our investors and stakeholders have been immensely patient and they always stood by me, and I am thankful for this. I must also mention my gratitude to our outgoing Chairman, Mahendra Amarasuriya who is stepping down on 30th April 2015 after 12 years of dedicated and professional service. Without the expertise and guidance of Mr. Amarasuriya I do not think we would be as well placed to tackle our future challenges and for that Serendib Flour Mills (Pvt) Ltd., and I will be eternally grateful. I have truly enjoyed driving growth and establishing our network in Sri Lanka, it has been a pleasure to see the ‘7 Star’ and Serendib brands win acceptance from customers and distributors across the country. It has been a wonderful experience to see how Serendib Flour Mills has evolved into a market leader, and I look forward to fulfilling my new responsibilities as the company’s Chairman. I am confident that Serendib Flour Mills will continue to achieve growth in the years to come. Sri Lanka has a high potential for wheat based products, and the renewed support extended to us by the government will undoubtedly enable us to continue our ongoing efforts to provide customers across the nation with a variety of quality wheat products.”
A man with a love for people and exploring the world: Sathak Abdul Kadar is originally from India, but has lived in Sri Lanka for many years. He is a grandfather of four who applies his calm and wise outlook to both personal and professional aspects of his life. Over the years, he has developed a genuine love for the island and its people. Commending the people of Sri Lanka he stated, “I am very grateful to have worked with so many wonderful people in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans are very warm and hospitable; they are very passionate and are able to grasp concepts quickly and easily. I am also grateful to the investors of Al Ghurair Foods (AGF) and our management, who have supported me throughout my tenure.” Having visited more than 50 countries, Sathak has explored all corners of the world and has a strong respect and great knowledge of different people and their cultures. As a family member of the Emirates Trading Agency (ETA), one of the venture partners of Serendib Flour Mills, Sathak’s personal network extends across all the continents and his excellent public relations capabilities are one of his many strengths.
Overcoming challenges to make Serenbid Flour Mills a market leader: Sathak Abdul Kadar, has worked in Dubai, India and Malaysia in various roles at Al Ghurair Foods (AGF), a 50% venture partner of ETA. He comes from a professional background of shipping and trading and has decades of management experience. In 1999, he was involved in obtaining a license to set up Serendib Flour Mills’ wheat flour factory, but faced many hurdles as flour milling had been a monopoly until then. In 2004, he received the investment for the factory concession and commercial operations began in 2008. In a short period of seven years, the company’s ‘7 Star’ range of wheat flour has secured 25% of the market share and Serendib Flour Mills is widely acknowledged as the market leader in the areas of innovation and technology.
Setting new trends and offering people a quality product: Commenting on his commitment to setting new trends and producing a quality product, Sathak stated, “At the beginning our investors were considering producing wheat flour similar to what is being used in the Gulf, however we were able to convince them to produce the highest quality of flour, because I insisted that Sri Lankans are people used to having a product of quality. As a result our entire business has not been motivated by profits; instead we focus on delivering on our promise of quality and setting new trends in the flour milling industry. We have also created many job opportunities for Sri Lankans abroad. In 1993 there were only a few Sri Lankans working in the Al Ghurair Foods (AGF), today, there are over 1000 Sri Lankans working in the group. In Sri Lanka, we offer 10 varieties of wheat flour and over the years our products have won over many customers and today we have over 100 direct distributors and dealers across the country.”
Driving segmentation to achieve growth: Part of Serendib Flour Mills’ success has been due to the fact that the company introduced different types of wheat flour to meet the needs of different segments. The company sells Bakers Flour, Household Flour & healthy flour options such as Wholemeal, Atta and Rotti Flour for flatbreads and rotti. The Al Ghurair Foods (AGF) group produces many complex varieties of flour in Dubai, however Serendib Flour Mills has selected 10 varieties that are of the highest quality and are also affordable enough for local customers. In the future, Serendib Flour Mills is looking to increase the varieties of flour available in the market, each created to meet the unique needs of different segments.
The result of offering customers greater choice: Commenting on how offering a wide variety of products has helped Serendib Flour Mills to achieve growth, Sathak stated, “When we started our operations, we were a new company with a new product, and we had to convince customers to buy our wheat flour. Despite having to undergo many ups and downs, our customers, distributors and investors have always supported us. By offering our customers a greater choice of quality products that suit their diverse needs, we have over time won our customers’ confidence and their hearts. A working couple will need to prepare quick and easy meals, a couple battling with diabetes will have to ensure that they meet their unique nutritional requirements. Our range of products enables customers with different needs to cook and prepare meals that suit their individual requirements and preferences. Diversification as well as our ability to offer customers a wide choice of products has been critical to our growth, and has helped us achieve success in Sri Lanka.”
Serendib Flour Mills is one of the leading flour mills in Sri Lanka and is a subsidiary of Al Ghurair Foods (AGF), Dubai The company’s ‘7 Star’ brand of flour has been nourishing the nation for seven years and embodies purity, innovation, quality, freshness, expertise, service and trust. Serendib Flour Mills is committed to becoming the number one producer of wheat flour in Sri Lanka and the preferred flour supplier in international markets.
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