HARARE – Former Lobels chief executive — Ngoni Mazango — has joined rivals Innscor Africa Limited (Innscor) as chief operating officer for its bakery division, Business Live has established.

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Mazango, a seasoned executive credited with turning around the fortunes of Lobels, recently left the country’s oldest bread and confectionary company after disagreements over shareholding.

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But it appears, just weeks after leaving Lobels, the company’s loss has become Innscor’s gain as Mazango will be directly superintending the operations of the country’s biggest bread maker — Baker’s Inn.

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Mazango, who officially assumes his new role in Graniteside next month, was named Megafest 2014 Businessman of the Year.

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Sources told Business Live that Mazango did not hesitate to join his ex-employers’ bitter rivals as he felt he had the necessary skills to widen the gap between the two companies.

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Innscor’s bakery unit — Baker’s Inn — produces an average 400 000 loaves of bread daily and dominates the market with a reported share of 50 percent.

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Lobels, during the time of Mazango, gained significant ground on Baker’s Inn, increasing its production from 30 000 loaves a day in 2012 to the current 240 000 loaves per day.

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Against this background, Mazango was due for reward in the form of a 10 percent equity in Lobels but the company’s board opposed this, leading to his exit last month after the bread manufacturer had been acquired by new investors.

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Mazango joined Lobels in 2004 before being appointed chief executive in 2012.

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His appointment came at a time when Lobels was choking with a $14 million debt but was saved by a consortium of four banks which injected money.

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Mazango embarked on an aggressive turnaround strategy which included replacing antiquated equipment and within two years he had produced swashbuckling results.

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At one time, he had a spat with his new employers — Innscor — whom he accused of using Lobels corporate colours for their packaging as the bread war between the two companies intensified.

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Baker’s Inn has reduced its price of bread to 90 cents while Lobels has maintained its price of $1 although it is no longer selling its bread in Innscor’s Spar outlets. -Daily News