Kolosus cuts as Daun imposes 'new culture'15 November 2003
The restructuring of Kolosus following its takeover by Claas Daun's group has seen almost the entire head office disappear. Former group managing director Anton Bischof has already left and company secretary John Nell and treasurer Roy Levy depart at the end of November. The most senior person remaining will be financial manager Grant Phillips, who, with five of his staff, will relocate from Pretoria to Krugersdorp at the end of the year. Altogether ten of the formerly 16-strong head office complement have left or will leave. 'What we wanted to do as quickly as possible was to downsize costs', said Paul Schouten, who heads up Daun et Cie's SA operations and who is now both chairman and acting ceo of Kolosus. 'The effect of essentially closing the head office is not that substantial - since the takeover, the group's needs have changed. It's no longer involved in a battle with Seton, for example, and it isn't dealing with a consortium of banks - just one. From an operating point of view, we intend to decentralise more.' Cost cutting will extend to the operating divisions, but the more important change there, he said, would be 'a change of culture, a more entrepreneurial approach - if they see an opportunity, they shouldn't have to go through a string of board meetings to get approval.' The other major change is that the entire African Hide Trading division, including Exotan, Exoblue and Exofell, has been sold to another Daun subsidiary, Courthiel Holdings. The hide and skin trading, wet-blue and fellmongering operations are being managed by Springbok Trading, also part of the Daun group, leaving Exotan as an independent company within Courthiel. 'For Exotan, we're looking at a possible joint-venture with Camdeboo Meat Processors (an ostrich and game abattoir in Graaff Reinet, in which Kolosus has shares)', Schouten said. 'Synergies promote efficiency and reduce costs.' Springbok's head office and hide trading division has already moved into the African Hide premises, and managing director Paul Ward said Springbok were managing African Hide on behalf of Courthiel but that the two would operate separately. One person who will probably remain with a foot in both companies is Exotan technical director David Boast, who is responsible for all three production lines, and who is currently employed by both Springbok and Courthiel.