Up Close with James Kane, Managing Director of Mondelez International

Twenty years ago, a friend of James convinced him to attend a Marketing Society event where he learnt about the FMCG industry, and that decision lead to shaping his career today.  Get to know James Kane of Mondelez International as he shares his story with us.

  1. How would you describe your management style?
    I am a collaborative leader. I genuinely believe that the best results can be achieved when people are at their best and when they feel empowered to contribute to the overall success of the organization. I also believe leaders who lead with their head and heart together can be very impactful. 
  2. Who inspires you the most and why? How have you incorporated that into your daily life? 
    My parents are hugely inspirational to me. They worked really hard and sacrificed a lot to ensure my siblings and I could have the opportunity for a great life – I love the bonds that have developed within our broader family as a result, and admire the balance of hard work and prioritizing family that they managed to achieve. This is definitely something I try to incorporate into my life now I have a family of my own.
  3. How do you see your organization changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating/being a part of that change?
    I’m very energized by the evolution that the company is now going through – we just unveiled a new tagline and purpose, “Snacking Made Right” in which we’re placing consumers as the focal point of everything that we do, by offering “the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way.” There is an increasing snacking need in South East Asia, and even in Malaysia, people are changing the way they eat. There is so much opportunity for us to reshape and define snacking through our enormous brand and product portfolio. Mondelēz  Malaysia is growing rapidly already in categories like Chocolates (with Cadbury) and Biscuits (with brands like Oreo, Chipsmore and Jacobs), so I’m really confident about further growth.
  4. Tell me about an accomplishment or a memorable incident that shaped your career.
    One moment that has ended up shaping my career was a choice 20 years ago to attend a Marketing Society event when I was studying at Monash University in Melbourne. A friend convinced me to go at the last minute, and it was where I learned more about the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry and landed a job as a Sales Merchandiser…and the rest is history! 
  5. What would we be surprised to learn about you?
    As an Australian by birth, it’s probably not that surprising that I love sports – but I also coached various junior sporting sides over the years – mainly Cricket and Australian Rules football. I really enjoyed helping the kids grow and develop as individuals and as a team.
  6. What book are you reading or podcast you most recommend?
    When I get some downtime I really enjoy watching various Netflix documentaries – ranging from the Vietnam War right through to sports and other topics. I recently watched “Sunderland till I die” which was about an English Premier League team and their on and off field challenges – I’m not a huge follower of EPL, so I found the soccer element interesting, but was particularly interested in the off field business challenges they were faced with.
  7. What do you do for fun?
    I love spending time with my family  (wife Claire, and two boys Jack 4 yo and Tom 6 months old) and traveling – so I try and combine the two as much as possible! We’ve loved exploring KL and are looking forward to venturing further afield in the future.