Candice Watson takes on top HR job at AECI Group


Starting in January 2020, she will be the new Group Executive for Human Capital.

British American Tobacco (BAT) Southern Africa’s now-former HR director Candice Watson is taking on a new challenge as the Group Executive for Human Capital at AECI Group.  AECI is an explosive and speciality chemicals company focused on providing products and services to a broad spectrum of customers in the mining, manufacturing, agricultural, food and beverage, and general industrial sectors. Candice, who has extensive experience as an HR executive, will be taking over the people agenda for the group’s 7000 or so employees all of which are spread across 15 regional and international businesses in Africa, South-East Asia, the USA, and Australia.

Candice is a long-standing and valued member of the CHRO SA Community and in three years at BAT has successfully upheld its reputation as a top employer in South Africa and on the continent. Prior to that, she had already garnered a lot of experience as an executive-level HR professional and was exposed to many industries including financial, industrial, information technology and fast-moving consumer goods. Having started her HR career in the graduate development programme at the South African Breweries Soft Drinks Division, she moved onto Standard Bank South Africa as an HR generalist before making rapid progress in senior executive roles. She has been the HR partner at Lenovo, the HR director for Sub-Saharan Africa at Pernod Ricard and has also worked as an HR executive for Barloworld Automotive and logistics.

“I’m looking forward to the new challenge. We achieved many great things at BAT and, after considering the goals that the AECI executive team has set for the organisations, I want to be a part of the story. I must also admit, I am also looking forward to the hustle and bustle in Johannesburg, which I have missed over the last couple of years,” says Candice, who relocated to Cape Town when she joined BAT. 

Candice holds a Bachelor & Honours in Psychology from the University of Johannesburg; a Post Graduate Diploma and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Gordon Institute of Business Science. She is currently enrolled for her doctorate in Business Administration through the University of Cape Town pursuing her research interests in Women in Management.

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