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Graham Stokhuyzen

Director Strategic Planning
Uxbridge, Great Britain

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What have been your biggest challenges in this role?

The biggest one is around stakeholder management.

First of all, we are a franchise system and in my role I need to engage regularly with The Coca-Cola Company and work closely together with them, but we are two companies, so that brings with it some understandable complications.

Secondly, we are a local business and our success is driven by our ability to sell, to drive availability and to understand customers, shoppers and consumers all at a country or even regional level. That means that working in a central function you also need to make sure you understand many of those differences and how important they are to sustaining our success. Of course that can be very challenging; we are 7 countries and things move fast, especially at the moment! 

“ My role is about making sure we have clarity about where we are heading as a business and to have plans in place to get there ”

What is the most inspiring moment you’ve had at CCEP?

Probably one of them was the Top 300 Leadership Meeting we had last year with the Spring Cup, which is a yearly contest between CCEP's Field Sales teams. The Belgian team won, they accepted the award and then everybody from the market who was attending came on stage and performed a kind of Belgian "Haka". It wasn't just the pride they showed in what they done that was so amazing, it was what the whole competition and people's reaction to it says about CCEP as a company. At that moment, you could really see how the deeply the customer and the shopper is embedded in our culture.

How does your role work within your team and with your leaders?

The communication style has to be very flexible; a real mix of fast paced and open communication with a wide range of stakeholders, but also more structured and formal within the forums and occasions where you need to know how to get certain information across and how to influence a broader public. Within my own team it is generally much more informal, very immediate, email, text, chat, face-to-face. 

Why did you choose to start a career with CCEP?

It is a combination of three things.

One was that I wanted to go somewhere I could learn. I've worked for another big FMCG company and spent time as a Strategy Consultant and I wanted to go somewhere I could learn something new. CCEP and the Coke system had always appealed to me as a Sales and Marketing professional and gave a chance to see how it is done at the biggest brand in the world.

Another aspect was meeting the team here. I made sure I met as many as possible before joining and through doing so felt a clear connection with the company. The last thing was the long term opportunities that moving to an international business like CCEP offered, whether geographical or functional.

What is your main responsibility within your current role?

A good business has to have a good growth plan, understanding clearly where it is trying to get to and what the sources of future growth will be. My job is to make sure we have that in place so that when stakeholders look at the business they rightly have confidence we are able to sustain our  current performance trajectory for the coming years. Once you have clarity about where you  are heading and how you plan to get there, it's then about translating those long range plans into short term actions. This is then the second  half of the role, making sure that we have the ability to convert good strategy into action through a clear set of quantified, prioritised and resourced initiatives and projects.