Sally Percy, journalist

For most of us, planning meals for the week ahead is a challenging enough proposition. Spare a thought, then, for Jaysen Toocaram FCCA, who helps to ensure the delivery of 45,000 a day.

Toocaram is director of finance and administration at catering business Newrest Wacasco, which serves 35 clients in the oil and gas and mining industries at more than 130 sites across Oman, from the desert to offshore drilling platforms, as well as hospitals, schools, defence establishments and other companies.

Toocaram’s responsibilities are as diverse as the menus on offer each day, covering everything from overseeing invoicing, cash collection, treasury and monthly reporting to IT and human resources (HR). The HR element can be especially challenging, he says; Newrest Wacasco employs an army of more than 2,000 staff, 80% of whom are expatriates.

‘A lot of issues happen on a daily basis,’ Toocaram says. ‘There’s quite a lot of movement,’ he explains. ‘People are working at remote sites and can be reluctant to remain there for very long.’

‘We had to rethink our processes to remain afloat; we streamlined and gained efficiency’

New challenge

Originally from Mauritius, Toocaram was working in Ghana for logistics company GSS when he was approached to become general secretary at Newrest ASL, the Nigerian arm of the multinational giant, which provides inflight and airport catering. Keen to embrace a new challenge, he jumped at the chance, not least because it presented the opportunity to work for what was then a public company (it subsequently delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange).

Newrest Wacasco


Number of employees in Oman


Clients across the oil and gas and mining industries


Meals served daily across more than 130 locations

OMR15m (€36m)

Revenue, 2022


Year founded

Newrest offers key management staff, including finance personnel, the opportunity to rotate around the business every three to four years, to introduce them to new challenges and perspectives. In 2021, Toocaram opted to move to Oman, drawn by the size of the operation and the opportunity to return to remote site hospitality management: an area he was familiar with from his time with GSS.

‘The ACCA qualification gave me more weight in management meetings’

The Covid-19 pandemic was a difficult period for Newrest Wacasco, as revenues plummeted. ‘We had to rethink how we were working to remain afloat,’ says Toocaram. ‘Before that, there was a lot of paperwork and inefficient processes. So we took the opportunity to streamline the business and improve efficiency. The main challenge was cash collection because it’s difficult to get paid when no one is around.’ To survive this testing time, Newrest Wacasco reduced its overheads, including putting staff on unpaid leave.

Today, a key focus for Toocaram is the automation of the finance department. ‘When I came, we were still issuing hundreds of cheques every month,’ he recalls. ‘Now we’re integrating our ERP tools with our banks’ systems, and using our own software to directly invoice our clients.’ The business is also integrating its finance suite with its operational software.

International outlook

After gaining a diploma in accounting and finance from the University of Mauritius, Toocaram knew he wanted to develop his skills further, so he began studying for the ACCA qualification. To fund his studies, he worked as an accountant at Betonix, a fast-growing supplier of ready-mix concrete. Combining his studies with a full-time job was challenging, but the hard work paid off. Not only did Toocaram accumulate a vast bank of business and financial knowledge from his studies, he was able to apply that knowledge in his job. ‘At the time, we had some acquisitions and mergers going on, so it gave me a bit more weight at management meetings,’ he says.

‘You need to balance your time. I see a lot of finance people overwork’

A highlight of his time at Betonix was a secondment to a major project, the construction of a five-star resort hotel in Bel Ombre in the south-west of Mauritius. As financial controller, he liaised with banks, investors, contractors and project managers. ‘These interactions required a lot of planning, discipline and problem solving to ensure the project progressed,’ he says. ‘It was a great experience.’

After more than eight years at Betonix and a stint with another Mauritius-based employer, Toocaram was ready for a change of country. He joined GSS, a subsidiary of Bahrain-owned BMMI, first in Djibouti as area finance manager. ‘Moving on international level was exciting,’ he says. ‘Djibouti was like going back 25 years in time, but the willingness of the people to embrace change and technology was impressive.’

After four years in Djibouti, he crossed the continent to take up a role as finance and administrative manager in Gabon, where GSS provided remote site hospitality management, mainly to clients in the oil and gas industry. A year in Ghana as GSS’s commercial manager and acting country manager then brought him to Newrest.

Coaching focus

As a leader, Toocaram believes in coaching his people and helping them to develop. ‘If they have any questions, they come to me and I either have an answer, or I get an answer,’ he says.

His commitment to his staff is rooted in the solid foundations of the ACCA qualification, which has also, he says, been his passport to an international career.

‘The recognition that comes with the ACCA qualification is much broader than simply having a degree,’ says Toocaram. ‘You also become a professional. I thought the ACCA qualification would take me to where I wanted to be in the future – and it has.’



Appointed director, finance and administration, at Newrest Wacasco, Oman, after being general secretary at Newrest ASL, Nigeria


Series of finance and managerial roles for GSS, culminating in commercial manager for GSS Africa and acting country manager for GSS Ghana


Finance manager, Kosto, Mauritius


Series of finance roles at Betonix, Mauritius, culminating in group finance manager

So what’s next? Toocaram is excited about the future career possibilities that exist within the Newrest group. ‘The next big challenge will probably be somewhere bigger than Oman,’ he says. ‘I look forward to maybe becoming a country manager within the group, or else taking on a cluster of finance teams on a regional basis.’

Knowledge and qualifications aren’t the only keys to career progression, Toocaram says. He believes it’s also important to work hard and stay connected to loved ones. ‘You need to balance your time,’ he advises. ‘I see a lot of finance people overwork while neglecting the other part of their lives. To succeed, it’s important to achieve a balance and to have the support of your family, as well as your colleagues.’