Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa (TSAM), was today honoured by the North West University’s Potchefstroom Campus (NWU-PUK) for his exceptional contribution to academia and industry when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Faculty Economic and Management Sciences.
In conferring the degree Professor Elsabè Loots, the Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, recognised Dr Van Zyl for his extraordinary and continued contribution to the academic sphere. This is evident in, amongst other roles, his position as Extraordinary Professor at the NWU-PUK School for Business Management and his positions as advisor to the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Management Sciences and the University of Stellenbosch Business School.
Prof Loots further recognised Dr Van Zyl’s contribution to establishing the spirit of entrepreneurship – both in spirit in the employees of Toyota South Africa and in the various suppliers and providers that the company has established and supported over many years.
The title Philosophiae Doctor Honoris Causa was further conferred on Dr Van Zyl for his undisputed leadership role in the South African and global automotive industry. Dr Van Zyl today occupies the position of Deputy Chief Officer for Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and the Caribbean in the global Toyota Motor Corporation, while also responsible for the daily running of Toyota in Africa in addition to his position as President and CEO of TSAM.
In these positions Dr Van Zyl has the distinction as being one of only five non-Japanese managers on the top management structure of the global Toyota Motor Corporation.
Speaking during a guest lecture on the eve of the graduation ceremony, Dr Van Zyl emphasised the key role of education in socio-economic advancement.
“It is my firm view that education – on all levels – is the foundation to economic advancement and the upliftment of our society and hence it has been a core focus of our corporate social investment since our founding more than 50 years ago,” says Dr Van Zyl.
Dr Van Zyl joined Toyota in 1993 as the Director for Sales and the Dealer Network. His academic underpinning in economics and marketing – having obtained his doctorate while a lecturer at the University of Potchefstroom – stood him in good stead and he progressed through various management roles before being appointed to President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors in 2002.
In his role as President and CEO Dr Van Zyl has overseen the largest ever investment programme by the Japanese company in South Africa, increased production capacity of the firm’s local plant to 220 000, expanded the local affiliate’s reach of export markets to over 58 countries and stood at the head of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa for several terms between 2005 and 2008. Today Dr Van Zyl sits on the Advisory Panel for Economic Development for the Department of Economic Development.
STORY BY TOYOTA