Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) chairperson and MDThomas Schäferis leaving the local arm of the German carmaker to join ŠKODA Auto as its new global CEO, effective August 3.
The Czech brand has been a member of theVolkswagengroup since 1991.
Schäfer has been at the helm of VWSA since February 2015.
In 2017, his role was expanded to include responsibility for sub-Saharan Africa as part of Volkswagen’s expansion strategy into the region.
Since then, Volkswagen has established a presence in Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana, and has signed memorandums of understanding with the governments of Nigeria and Ethiopia.
Under Schäfer’s leadership, VWSA has continued to maintain its dominance in the local passenger car market, with the Polo and Polo Vivo manufactured at the Uitenhage factory being South Africa’s best-selling passenger models, with international exports also up by 30%.
In 2019, VWSA enjoyed a record year, with the Uitenhage factory achieving its highest production volume of 161 954 units and the Volkswagen brand reporting a record market share of 20.4% – the highest since 1996.
Schäfer will be succeeded by DrRobert Cisek(44), who is currently responsible for the production strategy of the Volkswagen passenger cars brand in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Cisek holds a doctorate in industrial management from the Technical University of Munich.
He also holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Munich.
Cisek joined Volkswagen in 2018 from BMW.
His experience at BMW included head of industrial engineering, head of the press shop and managing a companywide performance programme aimed at securing long-term profitability targets.
“My tenure as the MD of VWSA has been the highlight of my career so far,” says Schäfer.
“I am immensely proud to have worked for and led such an impactful and good company. Together with my team, we have moved VWSA forward with outstanding production and sales results, which have earned our company recognition locally and abroad.”