British American Tobacco - Zafar Khan

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Zafar Khan

Director, Operations

I began my career with BAT Pakistan in 1996 in the Operations function and have since worked across a variety of markets in regional and global roles.

I am passionate about BAT’s New Category products, which have been a central part of my role since 2016, when I joined the leadership teams for Global Operations and the Asia Pacific & Middle East region. Prior to joining the BAT Management Board as Director, Operations in February 2021, I was Group Head of New Categories Operations.

A Better Tomorrow™

BAT is at the forefront of a massive transformation enabled by its purpose to build A Better Tomorrow™. To me, this means making a huge contribution to society by offering a range of less risky*† alternative products and embedding ESG throughout the organisation to ensure the long-term sustainability of our business.

It was a huge honour and privilege to be appointed to the Management Board, leading the function where my career started. Joining such a high calibre board as we drive our A Better Tomorrow™ transformation is a hugely rewarding challenge.

As Director, Operations, I am focused on amplifying value generation, delivering our ESG agenda and pushing our digital transformation to ensure BAT can deliver even more quickly. These are massively exciting times as we transform our supply chain operations end-to-end, and I want BAT to have the best multi-category supply chain in the world.

As a leader I like to foster a culture of creativity and free-thinking and very strongly believe in the ‘kaizen’ concept of continuous improvement. I expect people to take on challenges with full commitment, doing all they can to enable our accelerated transformation agenda.

BAT is a great ‘learning’ organisation with a truly global perspective. Being second generation BAT – my father worked for Pakistan Tobacco Company – I’d seen first-hand the quality of people and the responsibility the company felt towards its employees and wider society.

From the first day I joined the company I was given challenges and was lucky to have had excellent mentors while career growth opportunities were made clear to me. The diversity, culture and global, ‘family’ nature of BAT are what sets it apart. The company is ever evolving and always at the forefront of best practice, boldly accepting challenges with open-mindedness and humility.

Nationality: Pakistani

Career to date

  • 1996: Joins Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) as a Management Trainee in Operations
  • 1997 – 2000: Enjoys a range of factory-based roles across engineering, manufacturing and quality in Pakistan
  • 2001: Becomes Innovations Manager at PTC
  • 2003: Moves to Malaysia to become Asia Pacific Regional Supply Chain Programme Manager
  • 2006: Returns to Pakistan as Factory Manager
  • 2010: Moves to Bangladesh as Operations Director
  • 2012: Takes first UK-based role as Regional Head of Plan & Service for Western Europe
  • 2014: Promoted to become Group Head of Plan, Service & Logistics
  • 2016: Becomes Regional Operations Manager for Asia-Pacific and Middle East, based in Singapore
  • 2019: Takes on role as Group Head of New Categories Operations
  • 2021: Joins the Management Board as Group Operations Director

Education

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering / University of Engineering & Technology, Pakistan
  • Leading Global Business, IMD Business School, Switzerland
  • Senior Operations Programme, McKinsey, UK
  • Strategies & Leadership in Supply Chains, Stanford University, USA
  • Supply Chain Excellence programme, University of Cranfield, UK
  • Innovation Management programme, University of Cranfield, UK
  • Management Excellence programme, IMD Business School, Switzerland

Personal interests

I am married to the most wonderful person and we have four lovely daughters. I cherish relationships both professionally and personally as I believe people and their variety of experiences provide the greatest source of learning. I love travelling the world, reading history and taking in art and architecture with a specific interest in carpets and rugs.

* Based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These products are not risk free and are addictive.

† Our products as sold in the US, including Vuse, Velo, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Camel Snus, are subject to FDA regulation and no reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without agency clearance.

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