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Matthew Seaton, ED&F Man employee, Kampala

Matt, Kampala

General manager – coffee trading


What does your day-to-day job involve?

A lot! That’s the great thing about my job; the physical commodity sector, especially in a producing country, is particularly diverse. You have to manage a great number of things at once, keeping the core business on-track while at the same time being alert for new opportunities and surprises that may be around the corner.

Day-to-day, we review our business and trading strategy, develop new ideas and test old assumptions. I constantly keep up-to-date with global trade issues; political events, economic developments and of course, specific coffee industry matters. As well as managing the overall direction of our business and trading strategy, I oversee our physical assets within Uganda. This adds a great hands-on dimension to my role.

Across our assets, I carry out reviews of production yields, purchasing numbers, collate updates on specific local market dynamics and set purchasing prices. I also support our coffee quality team with coffee cupping (tasting). Finally, communication is vital and I spend a lot of time talking to clients, both local and international.

Why work for ED&F Man?
We have a very entrepreneurial environment in which you are able to shape and grow your own career. This is a fast-paced global industry, where we are able to develop a diverse skillset and consistently update our knowledge, working across different locations and with many different cultures. The senior managers are supportive and accessible, which is an added advantage.

How would you describe ED&F Man’s culture?
Entrepreneurial, with a flat structure where everyone has a degree of autonomy and accountability – I would say a very meritocratic environment. We are focused on client delivery and are very passionate for our business from origin to consumer.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to work for ED&F Man?
You need to be open-minded, proactive and willing to take ownership, but also be prepared to think and step outside the box. Be willing to learn and to challenge yourself. You'll succeed if you're flexible and can adapt positively to new locations, cultures and new circumstances.

Matt came through our 'group development programme', which trains talented individuals to be future leaders of our businesses. To find out more, visit our group development programme page here