BFood CEO, BStarbucks bag prestigious awards

SINGAPORE: Leadership and sustainability go hand in hand for Berjaya Food Bhd (BFood) and subsidiary Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company Sdn Bhd (BStarbucks), as both entities were recognised for their leadership and sustainability practices at the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards (ACES) last month.

BFood CEO Sydney Quays emerged as the year’s only Eminent Leaders in Asia category winner under the leadership domain; while BStarbucks is one of two winners in the Top Companies to Work for in Asia category under the sustainability domain.

“Leadership and sustainability go hand in hand. It’s a big requirement for a lot of companies to practise both effectively and I don’t think any one is lesser than the other. I’m confident this will spur us to work harder. There is no way you can become a leader without having people to lead,” Quays told SunBiz.

The Eminent Leaders in Asia award is presented to exemplary individuals leading mega businesses for a decade or more with the right attitude towards the business and the determination and grit to achieve success. These select few are led by their inner drive, embracing the concept of sustainability and new innovation to continuously grow the multimillion dollar business in terms of revenue, brand reach and resources maximisation. 

Quays bagged the award for his role in developing coffee giant Starbucks in the Malaysian market. He is a pioneer of BStarbucks and was instrumental in the 1998 establishment of the brand in Malaysia. Under his leadership, Starbucks Malaysia won the 2016 Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards, Social Empowerment Category for Starbucks Connecting Communities project; Employer of Choice, Malaysia HR Awards 2015; Best Companies to Work for in Asia 2015, HR Asia; Best of the Best Award, Malaysia’s Best Employer 2015, Aon Hewitt.

“Being a global brand does not make leadership any easier. It makes it a lot harder because there is a lot more responsibility to keep up with in the global environment,” said Quays.

BStarbucks has about 260 Starbucks outlets in Malaysia and is opening an average of 30-40 outlets a year. Quays said there is constant growth and innovation in Starbucks.

“The growth is focused around our customers. Many times we get customers requesting us to open Starbucks outlet closeby as to them and we know that we’re an acceptable brand. Now the strategy is to expose the brand outside Kuala Lumpur, in small towns like Batu Pahat, Segamat and Taiping.”

Quays has now moved beyond Starbucks and is tasked with overseeing all food and beverage entities under BFood, including Kenny Rogers Roasters and Jollibean.

“Empowerment is a big part of our business and it comes in many forms. The most important is trusting your people. You’ve got to hire the right people, train them well, motivate and give them the recognition that they reserve.”

“This year marks our 19th year in Malaysia and Starbucks has been a big part of the Malaysian culture. We do a lot of sustainable community givebacks,” said Quays. A total of 193 nominees and 41 winners from the region were present at the ACES.