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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

Alexis Nasard heads the 124 year old, family owned footwear company, Bata. He has 24 years of experience in developed as well as emerging markets in FMCG, luxury, and retail, impressive global background and strategic experience. He is proficient in public affairs and investor and analyst relations as well. He has associated with many global, iconic brands like Pampers, Tempo, Ariel, Dash, Viakal and Always. He is known for translating superior consumer understanding to technological solutions. He believes that in today's world, any board that does not have digital data as one of the key areas of focus is a board that is running unreasonable risks. Worked and lived in 7 countries, his experience spreads across 4 continents. He started off as a Market Analyst at Frost & Sullivan and Strategic Planning Analyst at Bechtel Corp. He then got into Procter & Gamble and spent 17 years taking various roles globally. In 2010, he moved to the leading importer of upscale beers, Heineken and then to Bata.

Procter & Gamble...

During his 17 years at Proctor & Gamble, he handled various senior management roles including defining strategies for new product categories and overseeing sales efforts in both developed and emerging markets. He has had the opportunity to work in Germany, Switzerland and the USA in various marketing & brand management roles from 1992 to 2000. He is known to have successfully grown and managed global and premium brands such as Pampers, Tempo, Ariel, Dash, Viakal, Pantene and Always. In 2000, he was promoted as Marketing Director of Prestige Beauté and Fine Fragrances, based in Switzerland.

In 2002, he was named as the Marketing Director of Health & Beauty Care at Procter & Gamble Russia. Before leaving the company in 2010, he served as General Manager of the Personal Care business for Central, Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and Africa for four years. He also served as Group Commerce Director with global functional responsibility for the company’s marketing, sales, innovation and wholesale strategies, portfolio management, as well as the continued growth and strength of the Heineken brand around the world from February 2010. He has been in the forefront at the evolution and repositioning of many brands at their critical phases - either they were plateauing, their consumer profile was ageing or they were facing severe competition.

With the brewer...

Nasard moved to the beer maker as the Chief Commercial Officer of Heineken NV and Heineken USA in February 2010 and stayed in the company for six years. It was a critical period for Heineken as craft beers were flourishing everywhere. He then served as the Chief Marketing Officer and President of $8 billion Western European business at Heineken NV from April 2013 to June 2015. He left for Bata to meet his ambitions outside the company in 2015.

Nasard rejuvenated Heineken's marketing strategies and added a bit of spark back into Western Europe. Through the company's first global campaign in five years which he spearheaded, he was able to reinforce Heineken’s reputation for delivering premium quality to a global audience. He broke away with the traditional way of beer advertising and reached out to the audience through online platforms, which was a huge success. The idea behind the same was to think digital at the inception, not as an afterthought. The digital strategy was employed on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to promote conversation about the brand. Heineken also ran a campaign on Facebook to promote ‘responsible drinking’. Nasard and his team took up the challenge of making the message of responsible drinking cool as opposed to patronising, and also of making non-alcoholic drinks cool.

With the global footwear major...

From April 2016 onwards, Alexis started heading world’s leading manufacturers and retailers of quality footwear, Bata’s global branded, retail and e-commerce footwear business as it's Group Chief Executive Officer. In his tenure as CEO, he aims at building a company that lasts. His key priorities at Bata are the product, people and service. He is all set to refresh Bata's image and to bring back the swagger on the global environment.

India, Italy and Chile are the top three markets of Bata. Bata today offers brick and mortar stores as well as online stores. Following the consumer preferences of having fun shopping in physical stores, Bata has no plans of moving everything online. It is opening more and more physical stores that are more modern, more aspirational and do a better service for their collections. Nasard's team is trying to rejuvenate Bata with new design-inspired styles which are cool, chic and aspirational while being comfortable and affordable. He has made up a fictitious character called Angela to help his employees identify with their customers. The male version is called Roberto. Even though Bata has a huge footprint in Asia for decades, it is unable to find its groove with the younger crowd. It is currently working towards attracting the millennial crowd.

There are three priorities he follows to make Bata better. First, product is king. Second, inspiring retail. Third is to make marketing swagger. The growth strategy is to have a balanced growth in developed as well as developing market, with continuing focus on Asia Pacific area. There are plans to invest on the development of other products like accessories, apparels, but the key focus will always be on the branded fashion footwear. Bata owns 24 production facilities, 5000 international retail stores and has presence in over 70 countries.

Personal life...

Nasard holds an MBA degree from University of California at Berkeley (Haas School of Business), USA. and an MS and BS degree in Civil Engineering from the Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon.

As a kid, he wanted to be to be a captain of a ship and admired Captain Haddock from Tintin. Nasard reads one book every week. He loves watches and shoes and has a huge collection of shoes. He speaks five languages. He admires Lady Gaga for being a visionary, a true brand builder, a trend-setter and iconoclastic.

Leadership style...

A firm believer of creativity, Nasard's leadership style is disciplined, yet informal. He doesn't like to be addressed as Mister. Extremely curious, he believes curiosity is the core personality trait that makes one self-regenerator.

Her two cents for the future women entrepreneurs...

Follow your passion, not your instinct.
Study what you like, you will have more fun and you will likely be better at it down the road, so you'll be more successful.

Associations and memberships...

Senior advisor of McKinsley & Company from 2015
Lecturer at INSEAD
Board Member of BBH Group (Publicis Groupe)
Lecturer at Harvard Business School

Quotes

If you want to keep a consumer faithful to your brand, you have to keep seducing him every day.
While many believe emerging markets are the future, it would be foolish to abandon the developed world.
Product is king. You can be efficient, effective, do whatever you like on retail, organisation. You can make all the nice speeches and all the nice papers you want. If the product doesn't live upto what you are promising, your promise is empty. If your product doesn't deliver, you don't go anywhere.
Unless a concept is insightful, understandable and memorable in 3 words and 1 picture, it will not see the light of day … ‘convoluted stories’ lead to nothing.
Most people define their competitors as the entities that resemble them the most. But your competitor is the one who is actually fighting for your consumer's wallet.
For me market share is a gauge of our progress and our ability to delight consumers, but it is not an end objective in itself.
Today, if you do not collaborate, you are dead meat because the world is so broad and sophisticated.

Hope readers caught up the spark...

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