My Rwanda Story by Arts Jan Triest — CMO, FrieslandCampina of Netherlands

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Arts Jan Triest to Asabeafrika....'MyAfrican story is my Rwanda experience' - Copy
Running the global marketing operation of a multi-national concern like FrieslandCampina of Royal Netherlands must be a serious deal of work. The turf of such tasking office lies in the ability to coordinate marketing actions across continents and countries where the company has a stake.
That is exactly the role of Arts Jan Triest, the global Chief Marketing Officer of FrieslandCampina of Netherlands the mother company of FrieslandCampina WAMCO of Nigeria. 

When Triest stormed Nigeria on Wednesday June 15, 2016, for the launch of the new PEAK 4-5-6 brand for Nigerian Children of ages 4 to 6, you will discover three things about this Dutch man; he is smart, suave and sensible. He was the cynosure of all eyes at the launching of the new Peak brand which also came with a Nutrition Seminar at Oriental Hotel, Lekki-Ajah-Lagos-South West Nigeria. Your Soar Away Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter Blog, Asabeafrika became the first African blog to speak with Arts Jan Triest who was born some four and half decades ago in Rwanda. He told us his Rwanda story and what his role as the Chief Marketing Officer of FrieslandCampina of Netherlands means to him. The global citizen also told us the story of his loving family of a beautiful daughter and a handsome son with a pretty wife, Anouk. Enjoy the excerpts.

Arts Jan Triest with his Marketing Director, Tarang Gupta stands with others at the launching of PEAK 4-5-6 in Lagos

You company just launched a new product for the Nigerian child, PEAK 4-5-6, how will you describe the experience?
Well, we feel extremely excited. It is a new step for our company and we hope we can make a great contribution to the nutritional well being of kids in Nigeria.
What do you really like about Nigeria and Africa as a continent?
Well, I was born in Africa myself. I was born in Rwanda. And the same thing goes for my company. My company has been in Nigeria since a long time and PEAK is our brand and we love to be part of the Nigerian society.

“When I was in Rwanda as a young baby, it was 1968. And at that time you saw the tension coming up but it was not exploding yet up till it happened in the 90s. My father and mother were missionaries”

What has kept the PEAK brand going stronger in the last series of decades? What is the staying power of PEAK?
Well, the secret is with our cows, in our farmers. They produce the best milk in the world and that is what we like to make available to the Nigerian population as well and with PEAK 4-5-6 we now have a special product that enable mothers to give some extra nutrition for the growth and development of the brain of their kids between age 4,5, and 6.

Arts Jan Triest (R) a Global Citizen with his global brand

What do you really love about your job as the Chief Marketing Officer of FrieslandCampina of Royal Kingdom of Netherlands?
What I like about my job is that first of all, you never stop learning about human beings. And what I like about that experience is that on one hand you do something for the consumers and on the other hand you try to understand the needs of the consumers and you merge both facts together to give your next line of action. And it is not always easy because we don’t get it always right.  So, I enjoy the people’s experience. It is an amazing experience which gives room for innovations.

“For me, it is like seeing a little bit of you moving forward. I am very happy with my two kids; I have a lovely daughter called Paula, and a lovely son called Gideon. They are also fond of each other and we have a great family”

You have worked in several continents of the world as the CMO of one of world’s largest diary companies. Which country of the world would you describe as your best place of residence?
Oh, that is a difficult question. My being born in Africa makes me to have a special feel for Africa. But we also lived for a long time in Asia, I lived there with my family; my wife and kids, we lived in Asia 13 years out of the Netherlands. So, we lived in many countries and we consider ourselves as global citizens.
What was growing up in Rwanda like?
When I was in Rwanda as a young baby, it was 1968. And at that time you saw the tension coming up but it was not exploding yet up till it happened in the 90s. My father and mother were missionaries. And the church that my father built was also used for bad things (By the militants), so, we have positive memories and negative memories (Of the time)
What is your dream for Africa as a Global Citizen?
Well, my dream for Africa is for the continent to unlock her potentials. There is a huge potential in Africa but somehow, it has to be identified and un-locked for the greatness of the continent. And my dream for Africa is that we can together with the people of Africa make the next generation capable of un-locking the potential of Africa.
What does it mean being a father? How would you describe fatherhood?
Yeah, good question. For me, it is like seeing a little bit of you moving forward. I am very happy with my two kids; I have a lovely daughter called Paula, and a lovely son called Gideon. They are also fond of each other and we have a great family. They are ambitious but they also know they have to do something for it.

Arts Jan Triest speaks with the media after the event

What about their mum, your wife?
My wife, Anouk; she is also working.
Which part of the world is she from and is she also a marketer?
She is also from Holland; she is not in the marketing business. She is in the business of developing leaders. 

“I love the mountains, I love skiing, I love swimming, I love cycling in the mountains and walking around in the mountain with my family makes me extremely happy”.

Oh, that is a huge one?
Yes, huge one.
What is your philosophy of life?
Well, my philosophy is that the glass is always half full and never half empty. If you see an opportunity in the future, you have to work for it today.
Do you have a role model?
Yeah, I have many role models. My mum is my number one role model.
Is she still alive?
Yes, she is still alive. I do a lot of sports and in sport you have many role models.
Do you read books and what kind of book inspires you?
I love literature. I also love books about food; I read a lot about food and nutrition.
I think that is good for your business?
Yeah.

Arts Jan Triest with the GDA of Asabeafrika

I want you to tell me your favorite holiday-tourist spot in the world?
Well, I spend my holidays in Switzerland. I love the mountains, I love skiing, I love swimming, I love cycling in the mountains and walking around in the mountain with my family makes me extremely happy.
Have you ever taught of writing a memoir?
If I feel that my life has been full enough I will probably will but I have not decided yet.
Tell me more about your role at FrieslandCampina—Netherlands and what you enjoy about your role in the company?
I am responsible for the marketing of FrieslandCampina Worldwide. And what I like about my job the most is the fact that it allows me to inspire people to reach for their peak. That is what I like about my job.
Advise Nigerian parents on your new brand, PEAK 4-5-6?
My advice to Nigerian parent is that it is never too late to start to do nutrition.

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