Anthony Pile is the Founder and Chairman of Blue Skies, a leading manufacturer of fresh-cut fruit, freshly squeezed juice, and dairy-free ice-cream, with eleven operations in seven countries, including Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Senegal. Anthony had the idea of producing fresh-cut fruits and freshly squeezed juices in Africa whilst he was Managing Director of another company. His vision was to put the factory where the fruit grew and deliver ‘ready to eat’ fruit which was ‘fresh from harvest’, from farm to store within just 36 hours. His Board however did not share this vision and so asked Anthony to go away and do some “blue skies thinking”. And so Anthony did some blue skies thinking and decided to do it himself.
Anthony landed in Ghana in December 1997, just three months after leaving his previous role with a determination to pursue his dream. Once in Ghana he had to find the land, bring in the water, source the electricity, find the people, provide the training, build a factory, install the machinery, work out the logistics and organise the farmers to supply the fruit, and most importantly he had to find the retailers who would buy his products over those produced by more established manufacturers. On 26 February 1998 with just 35 employees, Blue Skies dispatched its first consignment of fresh-from-harvest pineapple bound for the UK retailer Sainsbury’s. In doing so Anthony had proven that it could be done despite people around him telling him the contrary.
Blue Skies now employs over 4,000 people across Africa, South America and Europe and is a leader in its field. Anthony’s story has shown how determination, conviction and belief in others, can make blue skies thinking truly come to life.