Our legend was born and bred in the Eastern Cape Midlands. He was awarded a Citrus Exchange bursary and completed a B.Sc. degree at Stellenbosch University. Here, his activities in the class-room, on the sports field and in leadership roles were pursued with typical enthusiasm and distinction.
In 1990, he took up a position as field officer in Tzaneen, where he met, and married his lovely wife. During his tenureship as a technical officer, the legend gained extensive experience and insights into the citrus industry, and got to know many important role players. However, an extended career as a technical officer was not for him. In 1997, while our fledgling, de-regulated industry was still experiencing growing pains, our legend left the comfort of technical services to embrace the turbulent waters of the marketing environment. This is where he found his niche and has left his mark on the South African citrus industry.
His career progressed rapidly within a large export organisation and between 1997 and 2005, he filled the various positions of Product Manager, General Marketing Manager for Europe, Citrus Marketing Manager and CEO of the Citrus division. In the process he was instrumental in transforming and leading the way in which South African citrus is marketed globally.
- introducing implementing and developing direct grower to retailer programs;
- offers of firm prices and minimum guarantees to growers;
- development of new lemon and soft citrus markets in Scandinavia and Europe;
- development of substantial growth in the Middle Eastern market, and
- development of Eastern and Southern European markets for South African citrus.
The last point, in particular, needs embellishing. Our legend played a major role in developing direct exports to eastern Europe and Russia. An extraordinarily bold decision at the time, given the perceived high risk nature of these markets. However, his efforts put into developing customer relations has resulted in these becoming one of our bigger and more important markets.
Merkwaardig van hierdie letterlike en figuurlike groot mens was dat hy nooit weggeskram het daarvan om sy kennis en kontakte met enige belanghebbendes – insluitend moontlike kompetisie te deel nie. Hierdeur het hy ontsaglik bygedra tot die ontwikkeling van markte wêreldwyd vir Suid-Afrikaanse sitrus.
After 2005, our legend took his next, and boldest decision. He left the comfort of corporate employment to develop, from scratch, a new and independent global export and marketing operation. From these humble beginnings, and under our Legend’s leadership, his company has grown into a major exporter of all citrus types to all corners of the globe, and continues to retain existing, and develop new markets for the wider benefit of the South African citrus industry.
This legend can be best characterised by his enthusiasm for the industry and his ability to take bold decisions.
Browning’s adage that “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp” aptly describes this personality. Despite this, our legend is a humble man who acknowledges his wife, Launa, and family, as the biggest contributors to his success. Ladies and Gentlemen, our next legend, as large in spirit as he is in body – Freek Dreyer. – Justin Chadwick, CEO of the CGA