Prashant Iyer embarked on his McLane Global career adventure in 2006. Unaware of the growth he would achieve and the knowledge he would acquire. Nowadays, it’s rare for employees to stay more than 3 years, but for Prashant, it was different. A career that has spanned 15 years meant he was more than an employee. He joined as family and found his home.
Getting to know Prashant, we sat down with our Vice President of International Sales and asked him where it all began…
I started my career at McLane Global as a Sales and Sourcing support, in the International division, focused on China. While I had previously worked in international sales/export, this role involved multi-tasking on product sourcing from multiple vendors; organizing regulatory and technical documents; coordinating shipping/logistics and more.
Did your first role help you grow into your next?
Working as a Sales and Sourcing Support, it was a fantastic learning experience and helped immensely in developing my skills for a full-fledged sales role. After about a year, I worked with the domestic division as Brand Manager for imported brands like Juan Valdez coffee.
How was moving from international to domestic sales?
It was challenging, but it provided great exposure to mainstream grocery retail including the likes of Walmart, Kroger, HEB, Winn-Dixie, Albertson’s and more. I then moved back to international as a Sales Manager, developing new accounts and growing sales in Asia-Pacific, India and Middle East regions.
Did you find that you had a knack for international sales?
Well, you could say that because I thrived in the International Sales Manager role and exceeded sales and gross profit targets year after year and was received a promotion to International Sales Director.
Hard work has its rewards. As the new International Sales Director, what were you tasked with?
I took on strategic projects with the most significant one being the launch of our Lady Liberty Tortilla chips/snacks into India and Middle East. Also developed and honed relationships with key vendor partners including Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Gerber, Unilever, Kraft-Heinz, Mondelez. as the company moved into a new phase of international expansion, I embarked on yet another new adventure in Dubai where I was given the responsibility of establishing McLane Global’s joint venture and distribution setup.
How was establishing McLane Global – Dubai?
It was challenging and tough – navigating regulations for a new company setup, negotiating office space, hiring staff and finally to develop sales and DSD distribution from scratch.
Regardless, Prashant triumphed all hurdles and received his latest promotion earlier this year: Vice President if International Sales.
What does a typical day look like for the VP of International Sales?
Well, my work week usually begins on Sunday afternoon/evening responding to calls/emails from the Middle East as Sunday is beginning of their work week. I have several team meetings and calls scheduled for Mondays and Tuesdays; the rest of the week is interspersed with calls with the China team, Middle East team and customers/vendors across international time zones. Sometimes I travel, either overseas or domestic trips (for example to Riverside, CA) and that usually involves customer meetings, store visits and in the case of trade shows – a plethora of exciting discussions on product feedback, sales opportunities and more. Overall, a ‘typical ‘workday is not very typical at all!
After dedicating time, hard work and spirit, and seeing the fruits of your determination, what are some of your greatest accomplishments?
– Developing distribution for Lady Liberty snacks internationally
– Growing sales exponentially for Downy fabric softener into Japan
– Opening new markets and retail customers in Asia/Middle East/Latin America/Europe
– Starting our McLane Global joint venture in the Middle East
After all these years, what is the magic that keeps you coming back for more?
‘Entrepreneurial spirit’ is our lifeblood and highly encouraged by the McLane family downwards. From collaborating to develop new products, be it Lady Liberty Bean Bites or MC Trader Avocado Oil, to establishing new JVs/distribution offices in UAE and China, we are always innovating and adapting to an ever-changing global marketplace. This entrepreneurial spirit coupled with all the amazing people I get to work with (across all teams) is what keeps me ticking…