15 March 2022

Philip Morris’ New Senior Communications Manager Set to Increase Understanding of Smoke-Free Future

Submitted by Kisha Reader
Philip Morris’ New Senior Communications Manager Set to Increase Understanding of Smoke-Free Future

Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) has appointed Vuyokazi Xapa as its new Senior Communications Manager. The appointment underpins the organisation’s need to scale up communications and encourage clear and open dialogue in South Africa around the availability of smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes.

“The name ‘Philip Morris International’ or ‘PMI’ probably brings to mind terms like ‘tobacco company’ and ‘cigarette manufacturer’ but today we are much more than that,” says PMSA Managing Director, Branislav Bibic. “In fact, we are transforming our company and staking our future on replacing cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives which, while not risk-free, are a better choice than cigarette smoking. With more than a billion smokers in the world today, the magnitude of this undertaking is enormous, and the people we employ are central to realising this vision.”

Commenting on her appointment as Senior Communications Manager, Vuyokazi Xapa says that she is excited about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in joining a Global Top Employer like PMI.

“I am inspired to join an organisation like PMI which is committed to its transformation by providing people who smoke with better, scientifically-substantiated alternatives to cigarettes,” she says. “Like any transformative vision, change needs to be explained and we have to face scepticism and misinformation head on, which is why the role of communications is so important.”

She adds that she looks forward to taking on the challenge to ensure that people know the facts, understand who PMI is and what the company stands for. “The success of PMI’s smoke-free vision relies on how the company is viewed by regulators, government and civil society, and to a large degree on how the company organises itself and engages with employees along the transformation journey,” she says.

Before joining PMSA Xapa served as Senior Manager for Corporate Communications at Bridgestone Southern Africa and was responsible for leading communications functions across the company as well as sitting as a member of the company’s Extended Management Team.

Prior to that she was the Communications Director at Black Mint Communications - a 100% black female owned niche communications agency founded in 2017.

She started at the Kellogg Sub-Saharan company in 2014 and was instrumental in starting the corporate communications department where she played a key role in implementing and creating awareness around the company’s Breakfast for Better Days initiative™ which helped feed over 25,000 children every school day.