Colin-on-Cars – Nissan taps into Africa

Nissan Africa has revised its management structure to strengthen its foray into the African auto market.

“These are clear signals of the importance of Africa to Nissan globally through this new increased focus on the continent” says Joni Paiva who was newly appointed as Africa President. Paiva will also continue his current position as Divisional Vice President, overseeing Sales and Marketing, India.

Sherief Eldessouky has been appointed Managing Director of Nissan Africa with effect from April 1, 2023, replacing Mike Whitfield, who will now become the Group Strategic Advisor for Policies, Political Affairs and External Relations.

Sherief Eldessouky

“I am thrilled about this opportunity, I have been given,” says Whitfield who established Nissan Africa as a regional business unit in 2020 “Africa is a key market with an unmatched growth potential and the way we unlock that will be through a combination of intelligent mobility solutions and creating a coalition of willing countries to develop a thriving and sustainable automotive manufacturing industry.

Mike Whitfield

Eldessouky, who previously combined the twin roles of being Nissan Egypt country director and driving the transformation of Nissan Africa, has spent his life in the automotive industry in a career that has taken him from his native Egypt to Brazil, China, Korea, the United States and Uzbekistan, among others.

He joined Nissan in 2020 as head of the OEM’s automotive manufacturing operation in Egypt and was appointed country director at the end of that year.

“Nissan is well positioned on the continent, with an incredible legacy,” says Eldessouky, our job as a management team has been to establish just how we bring more wealth and value to a region with promising automotive growth opportunities with its rate of 42 vehicles per 1 000 compared to the global average of 182.”

Joni Paiva

“I am confident that with the team we have in Africa and the support that we get from our Nissan colleagues in the rest of the world, that we will achieve this.”

The position of country director Nissan Egypt will be filled by Mohamed Samad, who will return to Cairo from Japan where he has been based. Kabelo Rabotho remains country director for Nissan South Africa.

Maciej Klenkiewicz, currently Managing Director RBU Central Eastern Europe (CEE) will expand current scope to include Independent Markets Africa, making the most of his previous ASEAN importer management experience replacing Hide Kuwayama who is assuming a new position in Nissan’s global headquarters.

“These are exciting times for Nissan Africa,” says Paiva. “We have a very strong management team in place to drive the medium-term plan of ‘Let’s Build’ and to deliver the mobility solutions that Africa needs.”

The appointment are the latest iterations in a raft of changes and consolidations, which have seen Nissan Africa take responsibility for the North African territories of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia last year.

Visitors and delegates to the Africa Automotive Show and the Intra Africa Trade Fair in Abidjan in November will be able to hear about the full spectrum of growth within Africa of the auto industry, both in terms of sales and manufacturing or assembly.

One comment

  1. Great article! It’s exciting to see Nissan taking such a strong focus on Africa and committing to creating a thriving and sustainable automotive industry on the continent. With the recent appointment of Sherief Eldessouky as Managing Director of Nissan Africa, I’m curious to know what his immediate priorities and goals will be in terms of driving growth and innovation within the company.
    Texas Tows Inc.

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