Brian Joss –
General Motors announced the appointment of Ian Nicholls as president and managing director of GM’s South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Israel operations, from June 1. This move is part of the company’s consolidation of its Africa and Middle East operations. Based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Nicholls will assume responsibility for the company’s manufacturing, sales and export operations in South Africa, as well as its sales operations in Sub-Saharan Africa markets and Israel. In his new role he reports directly to Mario A. Spangenberg, president and managing director of GM’s Africa and Middle East operations.
Spangenberg said the appointment of Nicholls into this role would enable the company to further streamline its Sub-Saharan Africa operations from a product, distribution and customer support perspective. “We are transforming our business across the General Motors International region, focusing our investments on where the opportunity for growth is greatest. Africa is recognised as the next frontier for growth for the automotive industry. General Motors is taking the right decisions to ensure our business is best able to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers and to grow sustainably into the future,” emphasised Spangenberg.
Nicholls said that his immediate priority would be to ensure that a market driven portfolio is in place, to expand sales volumes both in the domestic and exports markets and to provide outstanding service to our customers. “We are well positioned for growth with our world class vehicle assembly plant and hi-tech parts distribution centre based in Port Elizabeth, coupled with our extensive distribution network of over 200 dealers in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
“Our strengthened portfolio of Chevrolet, Opel and Isuzu passenger and light commercial vehicles, will enable us to meet and exceed the requirements of our customers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Already last year alone our Opel sales volume in South Africa grew by 36%, while our locally assembled Isuzu pick-up volume increased by 8%. And in Sub-Saharan Africa our overall sales volumes increased by 31%.”
Prior to this appointment, Nicholls served as vice president of GM South Africa’s operations and before that vice president of planning for GM South Africa. Nicholls was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and first began his automotive industry career in 1990 at Delta Motor Corporation where he held several positions including manager of new business development, managing director of a catalytic convertor subsidiary company, director of materials management, director of sales and marketing and director of panning. He has an Accounting B Com (cum laude) from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte.
“Ian has a deep understanding of our business and the Sub-Saharan African markets and was chosen to lead our business because he is the right person for the job,” said Spangenberg.