The new MD of Bata South Africa, Michael Wyatt, has a CV brimming with experience that better qualifies him to lead a major South African footwear company than most other people. Over nearly two decades he gained comprehensive experience that covers all facets of the footwear industry – from design and production to brand management, sourcing, wholesaling and retailing, and that was locally and abroad.

Since joining Bata SA a decade ago, he has worked with all the Bata brands available in South Africa across all the various departments, in South Africa and various international markets.

His breadth of experience positions Wyatt well to deliver results in the unique South African retail environment, the company says in a statement. Apart from fulfilling the role of managing director of the Durban-based company, he will provide support to Alberto Errico, Bata Africa President. Over the past year Errico has been balancing his role as both the president for Bata Africa and the MD for Bata South Africa.

South African born and bred, Wyatt was recently transferred back to South Africa from Central Europe, where he had been the Bata Board Director for the region consisting of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and The Netherlands and MD of Bata in the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the past two years.

Four years prior to that he had been appointed Bata marketing director for Australia and New Zealand, and six months later as MD of the region. In 2016 he was promoted to Regional Brand Coordinator for Bata Industrials Protective in the APAC region, consisting of Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.

It was, however, in South Africa that he got to know the local footwear industry from inside out. His career in the industry started as a footwear designer in 2001, after which he grew and developed his skills in the positions of Product Developer and Designer, and Collection Buyer.

In 2010 he joined Bata as Sales and Sourcing Manager and within two years he was promoted to Wholesale and Brand Manager for Tomy Takkies. One of his achievements was the establishment of a full creative, design and product range for the brand.

“We are excited to welcome a devoted Bata member like Michael Wyatt to lead the Bata SA team,” says Errico. “Bata SA had a very successful 2019, and with Michael driving the team and carrying out the rock-solid strategy that we have in place for 2020, we are anticipating a great year ahead.”

He is passionate about sharing the great story of Bata and its heritage, as well as growing local markets and production, adds Wyatt. “To be able to come back to South Africa is a goal that I realised and I look forward to contributing wholeheartedly. Our love for the nation of South Africa drew my wife and I back with a vision of making a difference at the local level.”

Bata SA brands include Power (sport), Bubblegummers, North Star, Tomy Takkies, Toughees (school shoes) and Weinbrenner (outdoor) among others.