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New Sappi VP takes the reins, new CPO and GMs appointed

Dr Beverley Sukhdeo takes over the reins as vice president manufacturing, R&D (Research and Development) and engineering for Sappi Southern Africa as from 1 February 2022. As the first woman to hold this position at the global company, based in Rosebank, Beverley has large shoes to fill as she succeeds Pat McGrady who held the position for 11 years, and has since retired from Sappi.

Bev is no stranger to Sappi, as she joined Sappi as a graduate-in-training at Stanger Mill in 1990 and progressed through the technical, marketing and general management ranks at various Sappi operations during her career. Most recently, she held the position as senior general manager at Sappi’s Saiccor Mill, in Umkomaas on the KZN South Coast since February 2020, and previously was also general manager at Sappi’s Adamas, Stanger and Tugela Mills. She holds a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry and a Doctorate in Business Administration. During her career Bev has distinguished herself as a passionate and energetic leader with an exceptional ability to build relationships, to empower people and deliver excellent results.

With this appointment, Bev joins the Sappi Southern Africa Executive Committee and will be based at the company’s head office in Rosebank.

Bev Sukhdeo
Bev Sukhdeo
Naresh Naidoo
Naresh Naidoo

Also joining the head office team is Naresh Naidoo, who has been promoted to chief procurement officer (CPO) for Sappi Southern Africa, and who replaces Nat Maelane, who will retire from Sappi at the end of June 2022.

Naresh, who has a B.Sc. Chemical Engineering degree and an MBA, brings a wealth of practical experience to the role. He has been with Sappi for 26 years, having spent his time in various manufacturing operations throughout the SSA region, including as general manager of Tugela and Ngodwana Mills.

Christo Willemse
Christo Willemse
Philani Gumede
Philani Gumede

Christo Willemse, a qualified professional engineer (B.Sc. Electrical Engineering), replaces Bev as senior general manager of Saiccor Mill. Christo has been with Sappi for over 19 years, having started his career at the Ngodwana Mill in Mpumalanga in 2002 as a project engineer and progressing through various senior positions. In 2017, Christo was appointed general manager, Stanger Mill and in 2020 he moved as general manager to Tugela Mill.

Philani Gumede, formerly the general manager of Stanger Mill replaces Christo Willemse as general manager, Tugela Mill. Philani started his career at Sappi Saiccor in 2002 as a process trainee, moving up the ranks to production shift superintendent, production manager and operations manager until his appointment as Mill Manager at Stanger in 2018. He holds a National Diploma in Chemical Engineering. The appointment of the new general manger for Stanger Mill will be made in due course.

Gopalan Naidoo
Gopalan Naidoo
Allen van Zyl
Allen van Zyl

Gopalan Naidoo has been appointed as general manager of Ngodwana Mill, with effect from 1 June 2022, as he replaces Naresh. Gopalan holds a B.Sc. as well as a Master of Business Leadership. He has held various senior positions Tugela, Ngodwana and Saiccor mills with a career at Sappi spanning 26 years thus far.

Allen van Zyl has been appointed as general manager technical (regional) and with his 22 years of experience in various technical and management roles across the business and with his B.Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering, he will support the operations with various technical aspects, projects and strategic planning, along with his technical team.

Christo, Philani, Gopalan and Allen will all report to Bev in their new roles.

Sappi
Sappi works closely with customer, both direct and indirect, in over 100 countries to provide them with the relevant and sustainable paper, paper-pulp and dissolving wood pulp products and related services and innovations.

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