Cheers to ‘The Doc’! SA’s Van Zyl to retire from Toyota Europe top job…

Toyota Motor Europe has announced president and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl will retire from his post at the end of March 2021, after six years in the job.

The South African executive will also step down from the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) role of chief executive officer for the Europe Region. Interestingly, the 62-year-old Dr Van Zyl – who is affectionately known as “The Doc” – will remain chairman of Toyota South Africa Motors.

The Japanese firm says its European operations have “excelled” under Dr Van Zyl, with sales in Europe passing the one-million mark in 2019 for the first time in 10 years.

Matt Harrison, who is currently executive vice-president of Toyota Motor Europe, will replace Dr Van Zyl from the start of April 2021.

“What I am most satisfied about is the very strong team we have here in Europe. With such great people across the Toyota Europe organisation, with such talent and passion, there won’t be any disruption in the transformation we have embarked upon, and I have no doubt Toyota will do very well under Matt’s leadership,” said Dr Van Zyl.

Born in June 1958 in Springs, Dr Van Zyl later earned a doctorate in Business Economics from the University of Potchefstroom, where he subsequently worked as a professor at the post-graduate business management school.

He joined Toyota South Africa in 1993 as director for vehicle sales and dealer network. He was appointed group marketing director in March 1995, before being promoted to managing director for vehicle marketing in 1996 and managing director for Toyota SA marketing in 1997.

In January 2002, he moved up into the position of president and chief operating officer, before becoming president and CEO of Toyota SA Motors a year later. In mid-2009, Dr Van Zyl was appointed managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation responsible for Africa.

In 2011, he was appointed deputy chief officer of the Middle East, Africa and Latin America Operations Group at TMC. In April 2013, he was named CEO of the Africa Region, before moving to Brussels in Europe two years later.

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