Phillip Gutsche 2005


Philipp Hugo Gutsche, Chairman of Coca-Cola Sabco, was born in Port Elizabeth in 1938.  After matriculating at Selborne College he attended the University of Cape Town where he obtained his B.Comm degree in 1960.  During his school and university vacations he worked in different areas of the soft drink business, from being a ball-park vendor to counting bottle-tops in the popular miniature bottle campaign, and route selling, which he did for some 20 months! His passion for Coca-Cola started at a young age.

He joined the Coca-Cola Export Corporation in Johannesburg in February 1961. In July 1962 he joined his father’s business, S A Bottling Company, as Manager of the Port Elizabeth Plant, and in 1975 he succeeded his father, Philipp Rowland Gutsche as Managing Director. 

S.A. Bottling company, based in Port Elizabeth, expanded through acquisitions of numerous Coca-Cola franchise territories in South Africa. By 1992 Coca-Cola Sabco operated eight manufacturing plants in South Africa, with a combined market share of 17,5% of the local carbonated soft drink market.

In 1993 / 1994 S.A. Bottling Company expanded successfully into Mozambique.  In November 1995, S.A. Bottling merged their businesses in Southern Africa with The Coca-Cola Company’s businesses in East Africa to form Coca-Cola Sabco (Pty) Limited.

In November 1995 Coca-Cola Sabco became the 7th "Anchor Bottler" in the global Coca-Cola System (the only private non-listed Anchor Bottler).   Phil Gutsche was appointed Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of Coca-Cola Sabco in the newly formed joint venture between Gutsche Family Investments and The Coca-Cola Co.

On 17 May 2000, the Port Elizabeth Branch achieved the honour of being the first Plant in the world to receive The Coca-Cola Company’s highest distinction for quality system implementation (The Coca-Cola Quality System).  It is as a result of Phil's focus on Quality, that the Group is a world class leader in this field.

Effective 1 March 2004, the Group acquired the bottling operations in Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Nepal from The Coca-Cola Company and in June, acquired an additional bottling operation in Cambodia as well as the bottling rights in Laos.  The Port Elizabeth-based company now operates 28 plants in 12 countries and services over 290 million customers. The Group employs about 10 000 associates, of which about 3 000 are employed in SA.

Coca-Cola Sabco’s success is the result of a dynamic and evolving business model that emphasises the importance of adding value to the local communities through infra-structural development, shared ownership, human resource development and sensitivity to local conditions and needs. He considers himself fortunate in being part of a dedicated and loyal team of associates who have worked together to produce superb results.

With its Group Head Office in Port Elizabeth, Philipp Gutsche is a staunch supporter of the Nelson Mandela Metropole and Coca-Cola Sabco has been instrumental in creating job opportunities over a wide geographical area.  However, with his roots firmly in the Eastern Cape, Philipp has ensured that the Company has contributed substantially to the growth and development of the region. In February 2000 he was awarded the Herald/Mayor’s “Citizen of the Year” for Port Elizabeth.

Outside the work arena, Philipp Gutsche has been active in community activities.  He is President of St. Francis Hospice and Chairman of the St. Francis Hospice Trust.  He was Chairman of Round Table in 1972/1973, and is now a member of the Port Elizabeth Rotary Club.  In 1992 he was awarded Rotary’s Paul Harris Foundation Award for service to the Community. In May 2003 he was inducted as President of the Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PERCCI).  He also serves on the Board of the Mandela Bay Development Agency and is a Patron of the Raymond Mhlaba Trust.

Philipp Gutsche’s recreational activities include tennis and yachting.  In recent years he has actively participated in competitive yachting. He has completed three Cape-to-Rio trans-Atlantic races – one on the 42ft “Witchdoctor” and two on the well-known 63ft “Warrior”.  In addition, Phillip Gutsche is a keen conservationist and wildlife lover, spending time, when possible, on a game farm belonging to him and his wife, Yvonne, in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin.

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University wishes to accord recognition to one of Port Elizabeth’s leading contributors to business development in the Eastern Cape.  It is an honour for NMMU to confer the degree DOCTOR OF TECHNOLOGY (HONORIS CAUSA) on PHILIPP HUGO GUTSCHE.