CAPS BRING IN GURU
CHAMPIONS Caps United have roped in a marketing guru, who once worked at English football giants Newcastle United and at leading Formula One franchise McLaren Mercedes, onto their board of directors in what the club believe could be a game-changer in their quest for professionalism and commercial success.
The Harare giants named Hanna Wright, who in the past has worked with heavyweight global sports sponsors and iconic brands like Northern Rock, Adidas and British Petroleum, dealing with sponsorship packages, advertising and corporate hospitality both at Newcastle United and McLaren Mercedes, onto their board of directors.
Wright, the marketing manager of Stream Walk’s executive team putting together the foundation for the construction of a muti-million dollar Radisson Blue five-star upmarket hotel in Harare in the biggest investment in the country’s hospitality industry in years, is one of the new faces on Caps United’s board of directors.
She will head the marketing portfolio on a revamped Caps United board of directors, announced yesterday, which the club’s owners believe will not only add value to the Green Machine brand but help them take a huge leap forward in a journey to consolidate their place not only as the best football team in the country but also a thriving commercial entity.
Caps United ended 11 years of waiting by transforming themselves into champions of Zimbabwe and will represent the country in the 2016 Caf Champions League with club president, Farai Jere, revealing on ZTV’s weekly football magazine programme, Game Plan, on Monday night that their minimum target was reaching the group stages of the tournament.
The shareholders of the company that runs the club, Jere, who holds a 73 percent shareholding in the firm through his investment vehicle Automats Investment (Private) Limited, Nhamo Tutisani who holds a 25 percent stake and leading Harare lawyer, Lewis Uriri, who holds a 2 percent stake through his investment vehicle Lewis Sports Management (Private) Limited, announced a revamped board of directors yesterday.
That board includes a number of people who were part of the directors who masterminded Caps United’s league championship success story this year with only banker Desmond Ali, who is reported to be concentrating on moving to assume a new position in his line of work, and Alois Bunjira, who left the board earlier this year, being the only ones missing from the line-up.
The shareholders also revealed they were pursuing the services of Zimbabwe international banker, Andy Hodges, who has been based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the past six years, to take over as board chairman in another strategic move aimed at strengthening the board and the company for tougher challenges ahead.
Hodges, who led the Green Machine to back-to-back victories as club chairman in 2004 and 2005 in a golden period for the club under coach Charles Mhlauri, is believed to be considering returning home after halfa-dozen years on the road.
Negotiations have been going on between the Caps United’s leadership and Hodges and the club expect a conclusion to the talks, and the possibility of an agreement being reached, by the end of this month.
The Caps United shareholders believe securing Hodges’ specialist services will be a major coup.
Already, they believe they have done wonders in refreshing their boardroom by luring marketing expert Wright onto their board where her experience, working in the professional ranks of Newcastle United for two years between 2007 and 2009 could help in providing a new direction for the club.
“The marketing side of things welcomes, for the first time to the Caps United FC board, Hannah Wright,” a media statement released by board chairman Uriri, who has also appears to have changed his decision to walk away from the game’s administrative structures at the end of this month, said.
“Hannah is not a stranger to football. She was involved with Newcastle United Football Club in the United Kingdom between 2007 and January 2009. She served as Newcastle United’s Marketing and Sales Executive.
“She has vast marketing and advertising experience. She is presently the Marketing manager of Stream Walk (Radisson Blue Hotel).”
Wright’s impressive curriculum vitae shows she worked as a “Marketing and Sales Executive at Newcastle United Football Club (from) January 2007 to January 2009, proactively selling the variety of options available at Newcastle United (which included) sponsorship packages, perimeter and programme advertising and Corporate Hospitality for the home and away fixtures.
Designing of the Corporate Hospitality brochure on a seasonal and single match basis.
Discussing and putting ideas together for different advertising options.
Signing sessions with the players at the training ground on a monthly basis
Hospital visits with the players to the children’s ward at different hospitals across the north east of England.
On a home match day I was responsible for the VIP suites at the stadium where I interacted with my clients and got any relevant feedback. Clients included Northern Rock, Adidas, PricewaterhouseCoopers and BP.
During my time there I was also responsible for the organisation of the Rod Stewart and Simon Webb concerts plus various other functions held at St James’ Park.”
She also worked in the VIP Hospitality at the McLaren Mercedes Technology Centre between January 2005 and May 2006, “dealing with VIP customers, co-ordination of meeting rooms, stock takes, taking care of Blue Chip clients, organising conferences, major parties and Formula One Events.
“I had the opportunity to look after a list of celebrities and Formula One drivers namely Kimmi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya. It was my duty to ensure that all high-profile international guests who came to the Technology Centre were treated with the utmost privacy and were personally looked after by myself and my team.”
Wright has also worked previously with the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.
Highly respected football administrator, Cuthbert Chitima, who has now won two league titles in the past seven years — first as the director of Gunners Football Club in 2009 and now as part of the Caps United management team, has been named the substantive chief executive of the club.
Chitima has beeneen holding that position in a caretaker capacity for the past six months.
Uriri will be chairman hairman of the board until December 31 this year.
“It is intendedd that from one January 2017, and for a periodd of three years ending on 31st December 2020,, the board will be co-chaired by Andrew Farayiyi Hodges and Lewis Uriri,” the statement said.
“Lewis has beenen with the Club since 2001. He served as company any secretary and legal advisor. He is a legal practitionerctitioner and an entrepreneur. He was companyany secretary when we won the back-to-back ck championships under the chairmanship off Hodges.
“Andy is expectedected to return to the Green Machine after justust over a decade. He presided over the Green Machine during that memorable period. Andy iss an accomplished businessman who has continuedued to give input into the club. Lewis has attributed uted our success this year to Andy’s advice, inspiration on and vision.
“We are optimisticmistic that come 1 January 2017, Andy willll be back at the Green Machine. The necessity of co-chairpersons sons starting from January 2017017 is a direct result of the need to also strengthen thee corporate secretarial function. ion.
“Lewis will also serve as the board member responsible for corporate secretarial affairs rs as well as internal counsel. His involvementment as our governor at the PSL as well as his other professional, businessusiness and family commitmentstments are such he feels he cannot singlehandedly preside over the board. “Similarly, Andy has significant pressing business and other commitments both locally and overseas.” Medical doctor Mordecai Sachikonye has been retained as the board vice-chairman and, having been with the club for almost two decades, he will be in charge of the technical affairs. Jere will assume the finance, business development and external corporate stakeholders’ portfolio on the board while Tutisani while the club’s vice-president Tutisani will take care of the marketing, public relations and strategic planning portfolio. “Farai needs no introduction, save to state that he was also part of the ruthless machine that won the backto-back honours in 2004/5. He is an accomplished businessman. His experience, commitment, vision and leadership of the club is undoubted. There can be no one better suited to assume one of the most challenging portfolios on the board,” the statement read. “Nhamo has been with Caps United for a long time. He has previously been on the board and has also served as Acting Chief Executive Officer. The club would not be where it is today without Nhamo’s hard work, vision, and commitment. “Heisanaccomplished businessman whose key competences and strengths are required as a matter of necessity.” Abraham Kawadza, Willard Manyengavana and Alex Munyaka have been retained on the board.