Kabelo Rabotho of Nissan resigns

Nissan South Africa Country Director, Kabelo Rabotho, has resigned from his position at the automotive group.

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Kabelo confirmed this to Dealerfloor at the SA Auto Week event in Midrand last week. He will be leaving Nissan at the end of the month.

He was appointed Nissan SA Country Director in December 2020 and, in this role, was responsible for revenue generation functions as well as being the market lead for Nissan in South Africa, reporting to Mike Whitfield, the then newly appointed managing director of Nissan’s Africa Regional Business Unit and previously managing director of both Nissan SA and Nissan Egypt.

Nissan South Africa has been tight-lipped about Rabotho’s departure and has failed to date to respond to a Dealerfloor request for comment emailed to the company last month.

Nissan SA spokesperson acknowledged Dealerfloor’s inquiry on 7 October 2023, about 10 days after it was sent, when responding to a number of questions related to the company’s employee reduction.

From left: Jan Aichnger, Vice President of naamsa for Commercial Vehicle OEMs (MAN Truck and Bus), Thato Magasa, Vice President for Retailing OEMs (Mitsubishi), Peter van Binsbergen, Vice President MAnufacturing OEMS (BMW), Kabelo Rabotho, outgoing CEO of Nissan South Africa, and Billy Tom, President of naamsa and CEO of Isuzu South Africa.

“We would like to acknowledge your questions regarding Nissan South Africa’s leadership and understand that you have been awaiting a response.

“We are expecting to have more information available in the coming week. As such, we appreciate your patience and assure you that Nissan South Africa will respond towards the end of next week,” she said.

On Monday, Nissan SA sent out invitations to the media for a business update by the company this week.

Rabotho’s resignation follows a shake-up in Nissan’s leadership in Africa earlier this year.

Effective from 1 April 2023, Joni Paiva was appointed as Africa President but has also continued in his current position at the time as Divisional Vice President, overseeing Sales and Marketing, India.

Sherief Eldessouky, previously Country Director for Nissan Egypt, has been appointed Managing Director of Nissan Africa.

Eldessouky replaced Mike Whitfield, who was appointed Nissan Group Strategic Advisor for Policies, Political Affairs and External Relations.

Whitfield subsequently resigned from Nissan, with Stellantis South Africa announcing on 26 September 2023 that he had been appointed its new managing director.

Nissan SA’s employee reduction plan is set to affect about 400 employees at its Rosslyn plant in Pretoria.

It has been prompted by Nissan SA’s failure to secure a second model for production by its Rosslyn plant and the fact the company is preparing to end production of its NP200 bakkie in March 2024.

Once production of the NP200 bakkie ceases, it will mean that the Rosslyn plant will be left producing only the Nissan Navara model.

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