BACKSTORY: Mondelez’s Joost Vlaanderen
We question Joost Vlaanderen, MD of Mondelez SA (Cadbury, Toblerone, Oreo)
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I am a passionate hobby cook. I enjoy spending a full day in the kitchen preparing lots of small dishes that we enjoy with friends on a Saturday night.
Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.
I did not ask permission from my 11-year-old, but I will share his "secret banana 5 Star" recipe: Slice a banana. Stuff it with Cadbury 5 Star chocolate. Put it on the braai for 10 minutes
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience; waiting with quiet hope and faith that things will turn out right.
What is your biggest indulgence?
What was your first job?
I started in sales at a subsidiary of Heineken breweries but I missed the speed, which made me decide to go into FMCG and join Cadbury 17 years ago.
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
"Can we make this bigger, better and faster?"
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
You need to be really clear about what you want to get out of a deal and even clearer about the needs of your counterpart.
What is your biggest regret?
I prefer looking forward rather than back. Things you regret often teach you the valuable lessons in life.
Where were you when Nelson Mandela was released from prison?
I was in university in the Netherlands, my home country. I watched it on TV with friends.
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta airport. I have been there five times and they managed to lose my luggage twice.
Is there such a thing as "enough money" and, if so, how much is it?
Enough is if you can feed your family and provide for their basic needs.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Tell us about a hidden gem in Jo’burg/Cape Town/Durban SA that not many people know about.
The Berliner butchery. Their meat is amazing.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
My son was diagnosed with a form of dyslexia two years back and we sent him to a specialised school in London during his summer break. They managed to get him to the same level as the children in his grade. He now actually enjoys reading.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m not a big reader but I enjoy Dan Brown’s books. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is my favourite from my childhood. It might be what inspired me to apply for a job at Cadbury.
When and where are or were you happiest?
The day we became parents.