Tiger Brands. What sport can teach business.

17 July 2024, Wednesday








‘I definitely think they should settle out of court and don’t fight tooth and nail like everything we have seen, they might be able to demonstrate that – well we’re not just cold hearted as the public thought we were and we actually do care about the people who eat our products “

Lulame  Megence : Consumer analyst .


Last year was a disaster year for Cricket Australia – or was it actually a blessing in disguise going into this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.

What the Australian Cricket Board did get right – was to act decisively to remove the man at the helm: CEO James Sutherland.

Yes, the ‘ banned sandpaper cricketers’ did make some bad judgement calls – but one needs to acknowledge that they were playing within a ‘WIN AT ALL COST CULTURE ‘ –  determined, dictated and allowed to manifest by the man at the helm of Cricket Australia.

Cricket Australia’s value system had sadly lost its way under James Sutherland…………..

It was only a matter of time before it all exploded.

Fast forward to Tiger Brand’s announcement last week that it intends to defend its liability against a class action for 218  tragic listeriosis deaths.

Now, we all know that one cannot compare ‘sandpaper cheating incidents’ with the tragic LOSS OF LIFE , but what can we learn from the actions taken by the Australian Cricket Board.


Yet, to date the Tiger Board has allowed CEO: Lawrence MacDougall to continue – despite being the man at the helm of arguably the biggest food tragedy in South Africa –   as well as displaying alarmingly high levels of insensitivity to the families of those who lost their lives.

Tiger is one of South Africa’s icon companies –  with icon brands loved by millions of South Africans.

As was the case with the AUSSIE CRICKET BRAND –  surely the TIGER BRAND deserves better.

In a SENS statement issued on 19 April, Tiger has stated that they intend to defend the class action.

By doing so they stand the chance of significantly ramping up the ‘BRAND’S REPUTATIONAL DAMAGE’ – as lawyers will have a field day in open court tearing into the company’s current CEO, its board, its culture, its values, and its tone….. the way things get done.

As a CEO, it’s your job to set strategy, determine culture and impose the values…….and set the tone.

As a board member it’s your job to put the right person in the CEO job.

When an investigation into Tiger’s values at the time reveals that ‘PRODUCT SAFETY’ languished way down on their hierarchical value system – lawyers will argue that this was NO ACCIDENT –   hence something was bound to go wrong sooner rather than later.

And it’s also the insurance companies who will be watching closely in what could become a protracted ‘Lance Armstrong like trial of denial‘.

Let’s hope that the Tiger Brands Board make the required changes at the helm to put Tiger firmly back on the road of performance, growth and positive contribution.

Let’s hope they can take a leaf out of Cricket Australia’s book.

Tiger’s stakeholders deserve better.

And so do the families who lost their loved ones …………….

You cannot rely on the man who made the mess, to clean it up : Richard Nixon

Your feedback is always appreciated.

Go Great


Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Inspirational Speaker, Author and Performance Coach.

He helps both teams and individuals to achieve their greatest potential in life.




BOOK ROB direct on : robopie@thegameplan.co.za