“Life should never be a surprise, especially when it involves managing people. They can be your biggest frustration and your greatest asset. Choose the right individuals and you will be constantly surprised at what they can achieve. Choose the wrong individuals and you will live with the consequences daily,” he said.

David Preston, former strategic operations director for emerging markets in London, brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience to his new role at Canon SA. An avid rugby fan, he has found the move to South Africa from the UK both exciting and challenging, ascribing his success to resilience and belief in creating the right team ethos. 

n light of the country’s current economic woes, Preston is well aware of the challenge he and his fellow executives face in terms of driving sales growth and developing new markets and applications for Canon’s technology. The additional burden of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic will further challenge all organisations to evaluate their business models and go to market strategies. 

It is exactly this kind of challenge that has kept Preston at Canon. He remains confident that Canon’s proven record and innovative approach will stand him and his team in good stead in the months and years to come. 

“The traits that make Canon products great are quality and innovation. These two together mean that we will remain at the forefront of imaging and printing.”

At the forefront of consumer and production printing capacity, with a wide range of professional colour production printing and wide format devices to its credit, Canon also provides cost effective, quality printing and scanning solutions for the home office. This aspect of the business has proved especially valuable for those working from home and supporting children with educational projects and entertainment during the lockdown.

Attributing the digitisation of technology as the single biggest driver of change, in both the business to business and consumer sectors, Preston cited the introduction of printing devices into IT infrastructure as having vastly increased their capacity to add value and streamline work processes for companies.

Similarly, digital cameras and the versatility they have brought to the imaging industry, have changed the way that images are captured and managed in the photographic and video worlds. 

This in turn, he said, has opened the door to technologies like smartphones and the impact they have had on the industry.

 “With new technologies like Mirrorless cameras Canon will always be at the vanguard of capturing the soul of what makes Africa one of the greatest continents on the planet.”

Preston believes that collaboration between manufacturers and continual technological advancement in other areas are key market drivers, demanding increasing efficiency and competitive product offerings. His plans for the Canon brand in South Africa are grounded in a long-term strategy, with a sharp focus on the examination of internal processes and client service delivery. He believes that expansion into neighbouring African countries is key to the future growth of the brand.  This will be accomplished through a mixture of direct investment and skills training, both internally and with partners, retailers and end users.

“Building this capacity will ensure we have a good position in these markets to sell Canon products. In our domestic markets we need to retain our strong market leading position and strengthen our own organisation to ensure we develop home grown talent to manage the future potential for Canon.” 

 His enthusiasm for photography and sharing it with others is evident when he speaks about the unique backdrop provided by South Africa’s rich cultural history and unrivalled landscape. 

“Helping people to capture exceptional images of this great country and seeing the impact it can have on the lives of individuals is truly exciting and illustrates why despite the advent of the smartphone, professional or semi-professional photographers will continue to motivate individuals to acquire Canon products. With new technologies like Mirrorless cameras Canon will always be at the vanguard of capturing the soul of what makes Africa one of the greatest continents on the planet.”