From beverages to bakkies: new boss for PE automaker

03 June 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202019236

Commerce & Trade
Disaster Management
From beverages to bakkies: new boss for PE automaker

ISUZU Motors South Africa has announced the appointment of Billy Tom as its new CEO and Managing Director, transitioning from 1 June and officially assuming full responsibility from 1 July 2020.

He succeeds outgoing MD Michael Sacke, who the company said had opted to pursue other opportunities.

Isuzu Motors South Africa Chairman, Shigeji Sugimoto, said that Tom would play an instrumental role in leading the company through the unprecedented and challenging operating environment ahead.

“Covid-19 has completely changed the world as we know it and it is now important that as a business we move forward recognising that we are in unnavigated territory and thus need to be open to all possibilities. This will require agility, flexibility and a willingness to doing things in new ways, and we believe that Tom will provide strong leadership in this regard.”

Sugimoto said that one of Tom’s other strong traits is his customer centric approach, which would ensure that he is tuned into the rapidly changing expectations of customers and as such would be able to adapt the company’s strategies accordingly.

“Our customers are our reason for existence and we need to always ensure that we put their needs first.”

Tom (50) comes with over 22 years’ experience in the automotive, banking and FMCG sectors. He started his career at Distell and then worked at SABMiller, Standard Bank, General Motors and finally at Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa/Abi, where he spent the last 12 years.

Tom, who has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Rhodes University) and a Master of Business Leadership Degree (UNISA) said his immediate priority would be to strengthen the resilience of the business, particularly given the major global and local economic disruptions arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

“In challenging times like these, it is important to keep calm, focused and to be flexible and innovative in delivering products and services to customers. The landscape is shifting quickly and we need to respond to this with purpose and speed.”

Sugimoto paid tribute to Michael Sacke for the way he has led the company through its transition and first two years of operation as Isuzu Motors South Africa.

“Key achievements during this time include the integration of the business into Isuzu’s global operations, the awarding of the next generation light commercial vehicle programme for assembly at the South African assembly plant and retaining our leadership position in the medium and heavy commercial segments of the market and growing light commercial vehicle volumes for two years in a row.”

Just over six months ago Isuzu Motors of Japan confirmed that it will be investing R1.2 billion into the next generation bakkie programme in South Africa, while an additional total local content value of R2.8 billion will be generated through the lifecycle of the programme.

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