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Sean Murphy

Meet the man amalgamating Kraft and Cadbury in SA

Sean Murphy, recently-appointed Kraft Foods managing director for the company’s Southern Africa business, says – surely with some understatement – that one of the biggest challenges of the February 2010 acquisition of Cadbury, is bringing the two companies together under one culture.

However, following the local integration of the two companies into one legal entity (Kraft Foods South Africa) on March 1, 2011, New Zealand-born Murphy, previously general manager in Kraft Foods Gulf region, believes his extensive experience across a range of disciplines and in a variety of countries within the Kraft Foods group- the Middle East, South East Asia and New Zealand – will stand him in good stead.

“I bring ten years of Kraft Foods experience and expertise which will help me lead the new combined company,” says Murphy of the second biggest food company in the world.

Acknowledging that, in South Africa, Cadbury was larger than Kraft Foods, he hopes that employees from both companies will embrace what he has to offer. “Being a Kraft Foods person gives those employees the assurance that they’ve got someone who knows them and how they work, and it gives Cadbury people the opportunity to leverage me within the Kraft Foods organisation to better understand it,” he explains.

The biggest value-add for the Cadbury workforce complement, he believes  is Kraft Foods’ commitment to people development and the opportunity for career growth, either within the local organisation or the company’s broad international footprint. “My priority is doing the right thing for the people and the business and I won’t compromise on that,” emphasises Murphy, adding that the company is currently combining the ‘best of both’ from each company to ensure that the best resources are in place to carry the business strategy going forward.

Another priority in “moving the Southern Africa business from good to great” is growing the Kraft Foods brands and categories. The company presently operates in four categories across multiple brands and is about to launch a new chocolate and chewing gum product onto the South African market.


Northfield, Ill-based Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT) is a global snacks powerhouse with a large portfolio of brands. Marketing biscuits, confectionery, beverages, cheese, grocery products and convenient meals in approximately 170 countries, Kraft Foods had 2010 revenue of $49.2 billion, more than half of which was earned outside North America.  Eleven of the company’s iconic brands — including Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia and Trident — generate revenue of more than $1 billion annually, and 40 have been in existence for more than a century. 

A leader in innovation, marketing, health & wellness and sustainability, Kraft Foods is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index. For more information, visit and


Sean Murphy joined Kraft in 2001 as Category Marketing Manager in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he was responsible for the Cheese Category. Three years later he was appointed Zone Director, Gulf, accountable for managing distributor relationships and sales management across the region.  In December 2007 he was promoted to General Manager, Gulf and Nabisco Arabia, Kraft Foods Middle East & Africa, in charge of Kraft’s business operations across Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Yemen. This portfolio also included managing the joint venture biscuits manufacturing facility in Dammam, Saudi Arabia and the Kraft Foods Bahrain manufacturing operation.

In November 2010 he was appointed Managing Director Southern Africa, responsible for the South African business and neighbouring countries.

Prior to joining Kraft, Sean worked for 11 years with the Fonterra Group holding various positions in finance, marketing and sales throughout New Zealand, South East Asia and the Middle East. A New Zealander by birth, he holds a Bachelor of Management (Hons) degree from Waikato University where he majored in marketing and finance. Sean is married with one daughter. In his spare time he enjoys a wide range of sports.

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