May 19, 2020

Couche-Tard sets its sights on Australia

Canada
Acquisition
Retail
petroleum
Knackles
3 min
Couche-Tard sets its sights on Australia

Alimentation Couche-Tard confirmed that it has raised its proposed bid to acquire Australian petroleum brand Caltex to AU$35.35 per share.

This marks the third offer made by the Laval, Quebec-based convenience store company, which had previously been turned down by Caltex in October 2019 ($32 per share) and November 2019 ($34.50) as undervaluing the company. 

So far, Couche-Tard has managed to successfully expand its presence to the US and Europe, and now has its sights set firmly on the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. With a network of almost 10,000 stores across North America and employing 109,000, the company is a leader in the Canadian industry.

Strategic future growth

Brian Hannasch, President and CEO, commented that he believed the offer to be a fair assessment of Caltex’s value and hoped that its shareholders would engage with the offer.

“We believe this Further Revised Proposal takes into consideration the information provided throughout our engagement to date and represents a compelling premium for Caltex shareholders, as well as immediate certainty of value,” he said.

“We have long viewed the Asia-Pacific region as strategic to Couche-Tard’s future growth, and we look forward to our continued engagement with the Caltex Board in progressing this Further Revised Proposal.”

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“We remain a committed buyer of the entire Caltex business, where we see a potential opportunity to leverage our deep operating expertise and global insights to support and grow the Caltex business.” 

A part of Australian society

Couche-Tard may have a difficult negotiation with Caltex, which is currently in the process of reinventing itself.

Proudly discussing its contributions to community programmes around the country - including $3.1mn to a range of causes, such as volunteer firefighters, drought-affected families and Indigenous youth - Caltex is actively reconnecting with its Australian roots.

Until as recently as 2015, the company’s ownership was split 50/50 between Chevron and assorted Australian shareholders. However, in 2019, Chevron sold its shares to the tune of $9.24bn. This change in ownership has prompted Caltex Australia to pursue a rebrand to ‘Ampol’, a previously beloved native fuel brand.

“Our market research confirmed that Ampol continues to be regarded as a trusted brand by Australian consumers – even those who weren’t born when the brand was retired,” explained Julian Segal, MD and CEO of Caltex. 

“Our decision to bring Ampol back reflects the focus we still have today on our heritage of friendly and efficient service, high-quality Australian-made products and being part of the local community.”

For more information on business topics in Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief Canada.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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