Nissan South Africa’s managing director, Mike Whitfield, has been appointed head of Nissan Motor Egypt, and will also serve as chairperson of Nissan in Africa South.

The move is part of senior management changes the Japanese firm has made in Africa in a bid to “drive sustainable growth across the continent”.

Shinkichi Izumi will replace Whitfield (pictured below) as managing director of Nissan South Africa after having been appointed deputy managing director in 2018.

Whitfield – who has been in the post in South Africa since 2008 – will be based in Cairo, with his appointment effective from June 20.

A former president of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) and vice-president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM), Whitfield joined Nissan in 1981 as a marketing trainee.

Under his leadership, Nissan says it posted a “record market share” in South Africa in the past financial year and the highest this century.

Kohei Maeda, who stepped into the role of managing director of Nissan Motor Egypt in April 2018, is leaving the firm to “pursue other opportunities”.

Peyman Kargar, chairperson of Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India region, said the company had “a plan for rapid and sustainable growth in Africa”.

“We were the first to assemble cars in Nigeria and our ambition is to lead the way in developing automotive manufacturing on the continent,” said Kargar.

“The appointments announced today will drive performance in key African markets. Mike and Shinkichi both have extensive market knowledge and diverse experience within the auto industry. They will bring clear leadership and a strong customer focus to deliver growth and business performance.”