Marlinie Kotiah is a nutritionist, scientist and business leader with nearly three decades of experience. She holds a bachelor of science in dietetics, a postgraduate diploma in hospital dietetics and has received global leadership training in Paris, Luxembourg and Senegal. She also managed to complete an MBA while raising her two children, something she considers to be among her proudest accomplishments.
As the general secretary director of Danone Southern Africa and the vice- chairperson of the Food Safety Initiative of the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, she provides leadership and strategic guidance on sustainable business practices. She’s built a purposeful career by highlighting where food, wellness and responsible manufacturing intersect.
Recently, Kotiah’s focus has been to champion the repurposing of plastic into desks and lightweight bricks to build school infrastructure. In doing so, her work encourages regenerative agriculture while reducing food waste and the overall carbon impact of the factories and brands she oversees. In 2019, Danone converted every single Nutriday 1kg tub from polystyrene (PS) to polypropylene (PP). Thanks to her leadership and sustainable business decisions, the company successfully diverted 700 tonnes of plastic from landfill.
In her 27 years in the industry, she’s consistently enhanced the equity and image of the companies she’s been involved with and driven their competitive advantage. She has essentially fulfilled the dual economics of doing good business while being a force for good.
Kotiah is a firm believer in the power of community and our collective responsibility to respect our natural environment, which she hopes more South Africans will embrace. She says: “Being smart does not equate to being successful. Working successfully with people drives success. Natural resources are limited; use them respectfully, nurture them and educate others to do the same.”
Natural resources are limited; use them respectfully