Originally from Czech Republic, Miroslav Ríha has joined the South African Lego office as their new country manager.
Miroslav Ríha, country manager of Lego South Africa
Having been in South Africa for a few weeks now, Říha says that he appreciates the nation. “During these five weeks, I have received an enormous amount of support from colleagues, partners, neighbours, as well as random people I have met,” he said. “South Africans are very resilient and continue to have positive attitudes.”
We find out how he plans on making a difference in South Africa through Lego, and what he finds important in maintaining brand reputation...
Tell us a little more about your role as Lego country manager?
There are several aspects of the country manager role within The Lego Group. One, which is very close to my heart, is the development of our talented colleagues in our Joburg office, supporting them and helping them to develop amazing brand experiences for Lego fans in South Africa.
The second aspect is all about our partners. The local team has developed strong partnerships with South African and sub-Saharan retailers as well as with agencies and fan communities. My role is to build these partnerships further and make sure we as the Lego Group will always be strong and trusted partners. The last aspect is providing strategic direction for our business in the Middle East and Africa region and being part of the leadership team with a high focus on the South African market, where I also have legal and P&L responsibility.
What was your career path before your current role?
I am originally from the Czech Republic, and I started my career there as a financial controller in FMCG companies, which was also my first role within the Lego Group almost 11 years ago.
Nine years ago, I had the opportunity to join the sales team as a junior account manager and over the next few years, I was responsible for customers across channels within the Czech and Slovak Business Unit in the roles of account, key account, and senior key account manager. My last role before relocating to South Africa was head of the e-commerce and toys specialist channel.
What do you love most about your work?
I strongly believe that the Lego Group is a caring family-owned company with great values and a high focus on openness and trust. This culture attracts the very best in the industry and when you work with the Lego Group, you get the full package by working in a great environment with amazing colleagues.
What do you hope to achieve as country manager?
Our mission at the Lego Group is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. In South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, there is still huge potential to get more kids to experience and play with Lego bricks and learn through play. I hope to grow the number of children who have access to Lego bricks and sets, and we will only be able to achieve this by working with a highly motivated team and ensuring we have the best working relationship with our retailers.
What, in your opinion, are the most important aspects of maintaining brand reputation?
At the core is our uncompromising focus on the quality of our bricks, together with innovations that ensure relevance. In my personal view, it is also becoming more and more important to focus on broader aspects of our lives and I am very proud that the Lego Group is taking a stand in terms of sustainability, diversity and inclusion topics.
What is your process when it comes to problem-solving?
I am a very calm person that uses common sense and logic. Searching for the root cause of problems, asking for support from my colleagues around me, and coming up with a win-win out of box solution is the best approach for me.
Any plans we can look forward to in the future of Lego?
We are currently presenting our strategies and portfolio for next year to our partners and the feedback we have received has been amazing. Stay tuned for some wonderful new product launches in 2022!