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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 01 Aug 2008
MEET GRAHAM PARLEY

Settled in Mauritius for the last five years, Graham has recently taken over the additional responsibility of Esquel’s garment manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka. In this interview he shares with us the groups’ ethos and highlights the rewards of living and working in Mauritius.

Graham began his career in the garment industry more than 25 years ago in Fife, Scotland, where he originates from.A prominent and exciting career that has led him to work in many countries including England , Zambia , Zimbabwe, South Africa , Malawi , China , Mauritius and most recently Sri Lanka.

He fondly recalls his parents as the two people who have had the most significant influence over him. His father, a coal miner with a challenging and difficult job, was a contented person whose admirable work ethic and cheerful outlook on life continues to be a source of inspiration to Graham today.

His mother abided by the motto "if you don't have anything nice to say     about someone, then better to say nothing at all", and Graham is proud to add "it is to their parenting skills and their moral example that I attribute my success in life"

The Esquel Group
Joining the Esquel Group five years ago, Graham firmly believes in the principles and philosophy that the founder,YL Yang, had in mind when he started the company and which still apply today, 30 years later.The Chairperson, Ms Marjorie Yang, and the CEO, John Cheh, have applied five guiding business principles; Ethics, Environment, Exploration, Excellence and Education, known as Esquel's ‘E’-culture to grow their business  which in 2007 produced sales of almost 70 million shirts and revenue of more than US$650 Million.

With approximately 47,000 employees worldwide, the group is considered the premier global shirt designer and manufacturer. Esquel has a totally vertical supply chain, from growing cotton in North West China, to spinning, dyeing and weaving in  Southern China, with garment manufacturing operations in several countries, including China, Malaysia , Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

With approximately 47,000 employees worldwide, the group is considered the premier global shirt    designer and manufacturer. Esquel has a totally vertical supply chain, from growing cotton in North West China, to spinning, dyeing and weaving in   Southern China, with garment manufacturing operations in several countries, including China, Malaysia , Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

Even though the ending of the MFA (multi fiber arrangement) in Jan 2005 resulted in comprehensive job losses in the Mauritian textile & garment industry, it did not have an  impact on Esquel (Mauritius) Ltd. Indeed, the company grew substantially during this period and is currently the largest exporter of garments from Mauritius to the US.

As Graham puts it "If you purchase      a 100% cotton shirt in the USA or Europe from brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Brooks Brothers, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nike, Lands End, JC Penney, Marks & Spencer, and Nord strom, then there is a very good chance it was manufactured and supplied by Esquel."

Recently promoted to head of Esquel's garment manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka, with a total of 5,000 employees distributed over 4 factories, Graham has come to further appreciate the comparative relative safety and security that living and working in Mauritius offers. Recently promoted to head of Esquel's garment manufacturing facilities     in Sri Lanka, with a total of 5,000 employees distributed over 4 factories, Graham has come to further appreciate the comparative relative safety and security that living and working in Mauritius offers.

Graham places Mauritius at the forefront of the most enjoyable location in which he has worked - "the climate, the environment, the sheer beauty of Mauritius makes living here a pleasure." Not least of these pleasures is his passion for golf, "after 5 years in Mauritius I still feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to play golf on a regular basis in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. The combination of the Indian Ocean coupled with the lush green vegetation makes the experience truly unforgettable. I would encourage any visitor to Mauritius to try at least one or two of the many spectacular courses available on the island."    

A lingering custom from his many years spent in South Africa is the weekend barbecue or "Braai" in which the family regularly indulge over the weekends. According to Graham, washing it down with a local Phoenix beer is an additional satisfying bonus. He also enjoys snorkeling with his children around the many reefs of the island and    lately one of the Sunday rituals enjoyed by the entire family has been a late breakfast at the Sunset Café in Grand   Bay where the bacon, eggs and picturesque setting on the bay are second to none! As the sun sets on this particular interview a truism from Graham seems an appropriate place to end, "Usually in life there is no such thing as a quick fix, be it success in business, or at school, or at making a relationship work, we will always reap  what we sow."

I still feel extremely priviledged to have the opportunity to play golf on a regular basis in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. The combination of the indian Ocean coupled with the lush green vegetation makes the experience truly unforgettable.
     
 
    
    


    
    

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