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Unlocking Potential: Glenn Sparke

Bringing a blend of farm-style practicality, a knack for successful disruption and an open door leadership style, Malteurop Australia’s outgoing Managing Director Glenn Sparke reveals how he has shaken things up.

When Glenn Sparke took on the role of Managing Director of Malteurop’s Australian operations, it was on the promise of a challenge.

“I met the Malteurop CEO and immediately connected with him. He is very open, very honest. I think fundamentally I need to be challenged, and I saw that there was challenges here in the Australian business. I saw that there were opportunities to grow,” he recalls.

A dedicated and experienced managing director, CEO, general manager and sales leader with a history of working in the health and wellness, food, nutritional, ingredients, agricultural and flavor industries across the globe, Sparke says he’s restructured the business since coming on board to make it more customer-focused.

“I’ve separated the sales and logistics management role into two roles,” he confirms.

“I like to have a very intimate relationship with customers.”

“We’ve now got a dedicated logistics team, which makes sense, as we are primarily a logistics business – we bring in a lot of barley and ship out and export mainly malt, so logistics is fundamental to what we do.

“Having that dedicated team is how we can bring value to our customers, which we’re particularly good at.”

Connecting with People

Sparke tells The CEO Magazine that after many years in sales, he found Malteurop Australia was quite transactional with customers, and he set out to change this.

“I prefer to have a very intimate relationship with customers – that’s how we understand what they need and what their issues are, and we can support them in their development,” he explains.

“We’ve got a really strong team across Australia and New Zealand and getting them or their knowledge out to our customers is key for us. Having a dedicated salesperson was therefore essential for the development of the business across Australia.”

“It’s great working with the team from Malteurop. Malteurop’s work ethics align with Anchor’s principles, and together we strive for every interaction to be of the highest standard.” – Viviana Borg, Bookings and Customer Service Coordinator, Anchor Logistics


Noting the balance between supply and demand globally for malt is pretty even at the moment, Sparke cautions that as demand and populations grow globally, the whole malt industry needs to keep pace and be able to supply the demands of brewers and distillers around the world.

He believes the ability to flex, take on new ideas and be willing to challenge set ideas is vital, as is the ability to identify opportunities and risks for Malteurop Australia today, tomorrow or 10 years down the track.

Simple Thinking

To really maximize this for a company, he believes it’s important to nurture good people.

“Bringing good people together and developing effective teams is crucial, because ultimately if you bring the right people together and they’re comfortable to voice their concerns or their ideas, that’s how businesses really generate opportunities for themselves,” he says.

“I think the best ideas are the simple ones.”

It’s a skill set that did not come entirely naturally to Sparke, who describes himself as an “introverted scientist” who had to consciously work on improving his perspective.

“I try to engage with people as much as possible, and I think through the sales experiences I’ve had, I learned that not everything is black and white. I’ve changed my leadership style to be more flexible,” he reveals.

Conversely, some of his strengths have come naturally, fostered by his upbringing in a small country town, heavy on farming and practicality.

“I think the best ideas are the simple ones,” he says. “For businesses, often the simple solutions will be more successful than complex, convoluted ideas or projects.”

Communication is Key

Another factor that played into the changes made to the company by Sparke was the acknowledgement of cultural differences.

“A lot of our business in Europe is Western Europe-based – France, Germany, Spain, Portugal – and culturally, we’re different,” he points out.

“We need to be inclusive, have good communication and make sure staff feel they’re valued and appreciated. And the way to do that is engage them in discussions and communicate with them.”

“Having that dedicated team is how we can bring value to our customers, which we’re particularly good at.”

It’s a view that stands up to scrutiny, with Sparke noting that if people are only given a limited view, not involved in discussions or not given information, then their engagement and willingness to do more are going to be limited.

Beyond its staff and customers, this openness and collaborative approach is also stamped into how Malteurop works with its suppliers and partners, such as sea freight broker Anchor Logistics.

“We have a hybrid model for sourcing our barley that gives us flexibility in our business,” Sparke says. “But fundamentally, we will deal with farmers directly and contract directly for supply, and other times we’ll go through brokers and agents.

“So that model is really important to us and it also keeps us connected to our growers, as well as bigger suppliers.”

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