Another Covid loss for corporate SA: Toyota’s Dr Johan van Zyl passes away


Toyota SA chairman and former CEO Dr Johan van Zyl (63) handed away from Covid-19 issues on Friday at a Pretoria hospital, the Nationwide Affiliation of Vehicle Producers of South Africa (Naamsa) has confirmed.

Van Zyl’s demise represents one other Covid-related loss for company South Africa within the wake of the pandemic, which has claimed greater than 70 000 lives within the nation so far.

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His illustrious automotive business profession goes again greater than 28 years, after being appointed director for automobile gross sales and supplier community at Toyota Motors SA again in 1993. In 2002, Van Zyl was appointed president and COO of the group and in 2003 grew to become CEO.

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Generally known as “The Doc” extra affectionately, Van Zyl was appointed by the Japanese-based Toyota Motor Company (TMC) as its Africa Area CEO in April 2013. And, in 2015 he took on the position of president and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe (TME) till his retirement earlier this yr.

Van Zyl remained chairperson of Toyota SA till his demise and performed a significant position within the firm changing into one of many largest automobile producers on the African continent, with its expansive plant in Prospecton, Durban.

This noticed him additionally enjoying a vital position within the development of the native automotive business and being Naamsa president for 2 phrases.

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“The Doc – as he was affectionately identified throughout the auto corridors, led the automotive business with distinction as Naamsa president in the course of the highs of the business when home new automobile gross sales, automobile exports and automobile manufacturing information have been achieved in 2006/2007,” the automotive affiliation stated in an announcement.

“He was additionally on the helm and a towering architect of the Automotive Manufacturing Improvement Programme [APDP] in 2013,” it added.

Toyota SA stated in an announcement that Van Zyl “had a profound affect on the Toyota Household”.

“The Doc … had an uncanny sense of understanding simply what shoppers need and he was in a position to instil this considering in all his colleagues.”

Along with his excellent contribution to the expansion of Toyota in SA and the enlargement of the native automotive manufacturing business, Toyota SA identified that Van Zyl “left an indelible mark” as TME too.

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“Underneath his tenure, gross sales in Europe handed the one-million mark in 2019 for the primary time in 10 years … On his return to South Africa (in April 2021), Dr van Zyl remained chairman of Toyota SA,” it stated.

“However for all his successes within the company world, what The Doc will likely be remembered for essentially the most was his humanity – his skill to recollect the identify of every particular person he got here into contact with, his self-deprecating sense of humour that instantly put everybody comfy, and his complete wealth of normal information,” Toyota SA added.

“We have now misplaced a much-loved and admired chief who will likely be remembered for his management and success of each Toyota SA and Toyota Motor Europe,” stated Andrew Kirby, present president and CEO of Toyota SA.

“He was additionally an incredible human being – for these of us who have been lucky to work intently with Johan, we’ll all the time bear in mind him as an aspiring mentor, who had a narrative to share on any matter and who actually cared about individuals.

“His tireless efforts for our firm, business and nation will likely be sorely missed,” added Kirby, who additionally prolonged the group’s honest condolences to Van Zyl’s household.

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Naamsa CEO Mikel Mabasa additionally hailed Van Zyl’s contribution to the business and SA.

“Dr Van Zyl was an influential and impactful chief, not solely within the automotive business, but in addition within the nation when he and some different enterprise leaders established the Public Personal Development Initiative, which introduced collectively social companions to work a lot nearer in resolving a few of the nation’s largest socio-economic challenges,” he famous.

Van Zyl is survived by his spouse Santie, daughters, Nadia and Karla, sons-in-laws  and his grandchildren.



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