My Rwanda Story by Arts Jan Triest — CMO, FrieslandCampina of Netherlands

Arts Jan Triest to Asabeafrika….’MyAfrican story is my Rwanda experience’ – Copy
Running the global marketing
operation of a multi-national concern like FrieslandCampina
of Royal Netherlands must be a
serious deal of work. The turf of such tasking office lies in the ability to
coordinate marketing actions across continents and countries where the company
has a stake.
That is exactly the role of Arts Jan Triest, the global Chief
Marketing Officer of FrieslandCampina
of Netherlands the mother company of
FrieslandCampina WAMCO of Nigeria. 

When Triest stormed Nigeria on Wednesday June 15, 2016, for the launch
of the new PEAK 4-5-6 brand for Nigerian
Children of ages 4 to 6, you will discover three things about this Dutch man;
he is smart, suave and sensible. He was the cynosure of all eyes at the
launching of the new Peak brand
which also came with a Nutrition Seminar at Oriental Hotel, Lekki-Ajah-Lagos-South
West Nigeria. Your Soar Away Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter Blog, Asabeafrika became the first African
blog to speak with Arts Jan Triest
who was born some four and half decades ago in Rwanda. He told us his Rwanda
story and what his role as the Chief Marketing Officer of FrieslandCampina of Netherlands means to him. The global
citizen also told us the story of his loving family of a beautiful daughter and
a handsome son with a pretty wife, Anouk.
Enjoy the excerpts.

Arts Jan Triest with his Marketing Director, Tarang Gupta stands with others at the launching of PEAK 4-5-6 in Lagos

You company just launched a new
product for the Nigerian child,
PEAK 4-5-6, how will you describe the experience?
Well, we
feel extremely excited. It is a new step for our company and we hope we can
make a great contribution to the nutritional well being of kids in Nigeria.
What do you really like about Nigeria
and Africa as a continent?
Well, I was
born in Africa myself. I was born in Rwanda. And the same
thing goes for my company. My company has been in Nigeria since a long time
and PEAK
is our brand and we love to be part of the Nigerian society.

“When I was in Rwanda as a young baby, it was 1968. And at that time you saw the
tension coming up but it was not exploding yet up till it happened in the 90s.
My father and mother were missionaries”

What has kept the PEAK brand going stronger in the last
series of decades? What is the staying power of
PEAK?
Well, the
secret is with our cows, in our farmers. They produce the best milk in the
world and that is what we like to make available to the Nigerian population as well and with PEAK 4-5-6 we now have a
special product that enable mothers to give some extra nutrition for the growth
and development of the brain of their kids between age 4,5, and 6.

Arts Jan Triest (R) a Global Citizen with his global brand

What do you really love about your
job as the Chief Marketing Officer of FrieslandCampina of Royal Kingdom of
Netherlands?
What I like
about my job is that first of all, you never stop learning about human beings.
And what I like about that experience is that on one hand you do something for
the consumers and on the other hand you try to understand the needs of the consumers
and you merge both facts together to give your next line of action. And it is
not always easy because we don’t get it always right.  So, I enjoy the people’s experience. It is an
amazing experience which gives room for innovations.

“For me, it is like seeing a little
bit of you moving forward. I am very happy with my two kids; I have a lovely
daughter called Paula, and a lovely
son called Gideon. They are also
fond of each other and we have a great family”

You have worked in several continents
of the world as the CMO of one of world’s largest diary companies. Which
country of the world would you describe as your best place of residence?
Oh, that is
a difficult question. My being born in Africa makes me to have a special
feel for Africa. But we also lived for a long time in Asia,
I lived there with my family; my wife and kids, we lived in Asia
13 years out of the Netherlands. So, we lived in many countries and we consider
ourselves as global citizens.
What was growing up in Rwanda like?
When I was
in Rwanda
as a young baby, it was 1968. And at that time you saw the tension coming up
but it was not exploding yet up till it happened in the 90s. My father and
mother were missionaries. And the church that my father built was also used for
bad things (By the militants), so, we have positive memories and negative
memories (Of the time)
What is your dream for Africa as a
Global Citizen?
Well, my
dream for Africa is for the continent to unlock her potentials. There is
a huge potential in Africa but somehow, it has to be identified and un-locked for
the greatness of the continent. And my dream for Africa is that we can
together with the people of Africa make the next generation
capable of un-locking the potential of Africa.
What does it mean being a father? How
would you describe fatherhood?
Yeah, good
question. For me, it is like seeing a little bit of you moving forward. I am
very happy with my two kids; I have a lovely daughter called Paula,
and a lovely son called Gideon. They are also fond of each other
and we have a great family. They are ambitious but they also know they have to
do something for it.

Arts Jan Triest speaks with the media after the event

What about their mum, your wife?
My wife, Anouk;
she is also working.
Which part of the world is she from
and is she also a marketer?
She is also
from Holland;
she is not in the marketing business. She is in the business of developing
leaders. 

“I love the mountains, I love skiing,
I love swimming, I love cycling in the mountains and walking around in the
mountain with my family makes me extremely happy”.

Oh, that is a huge one?
Yes, huge
one.
What is your philosophy of life?
Well, my
philosophy is that the glass is always half full and never half empty. If you
see an opportunity in the future, you have to work for it today.
Do you have a role model?
Yeah, I have
many role models. My mum is my number one role model.
Is she still alive?
Yes, she is
still alive. I do a lot of sports and in sport you have many role models.
Do you read books and what kind of
book inspires you?
I love
literature. I also love books about food; I read a lot about food and
nutrition.
I think that is good for your
business?
Yeah.

Arts Jan Triest with the GDA of Asabeafrika

I want you to tell me your favorite
holiday-tourist spot in the world?
Well, I
spend my holidays in Switzerland. I love the mountains, I
love skiing, I love swimming, I love cycling in the mountains and walking
around in the mountain with my family makes me extremely happy.
Have you ever taught of writing a
memoir?
If I feel
that my life has been full enough I will probably will but I have not decided
yet.
Tell me more about your role at FrieslandCampina—Netherlands and what you enjoy about
your role in the company?
I am
responsible for the marketing of FrieslandCampina Worldwide. And what
I like about my job the most is the fact that it allows me to inspire people to
reach for their peak. That is what I like about my job.
Advise Nigerian parents on your new
brand, PEAK 4-5-6?
My advice to
Nigerian parent is that it is never too late to start to do nutrition.

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