Management changes at Ford

The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has announced leadership and organisational changes to strengthen its automotive operations.

Esther Buthelezi 4 1800x1800

The company, which is investing R15.8 billion in technology, upgrades and new facilities at its Silverton plant to support high quality and efficient production of the all-new Ranger, has appointed three senior executives in new positions.

Ford South Africa MD Neale Hill said the series of leadership and organisational changes for South Africa are effective from June 1, 2021, and are aimed at accelerating Ford’s strategic transformation plan and strengthening its automotive operations in South Africa.

Esther Buthelezi
Esther Buthelezi

Dhiren Vanmali, currently executive director of government affairs, takes over the role of sales operations director; Conrad Groenewald has been appointed marketing director after previously heading up the combined marketing, sales and service division; and Esther Buthelezi, currently Ford’s corporate transformation manager for South Africa, has expanded her portfolio to now become government affairs and transformation director.

Hill said that globally Ford is transforming its business to deliver growth and create value as part of its Ford+ Plan, the company’s strategic approach to provide customers with enhanced products and services based on “always-on” customer relationships, world-class vehicles, including electric vehicles, and connected services and technologies that build a better world.

Dhiren Vanmali
Dhiren Vanmali

“The changes to our leadership team reflect this new approach to reinvigorate the way we do business and to prepare the company for a dynamic and exciting future,” he said.

Vanmali, who joined Ford in 2001 and has held several positions in manufacturing, product development, business strategy and finance, has played a pivotal role in facilitating the recent R15.8 billion investment in the South African operations and also serves as non-executive director for the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ).

He has also been instrumental in the creation of the Gauteng-Eastern Cape Rail and Freight High Capacity Corridor.

Groenewald joined Ford in 1996 and has held several positions in the company in product engineering, manufacturing, marketing and sales. His focus now shifts exclusively to the marketing role to guide Ford’s future cycle plans, which encompasses the launch of the all-new Ranger pickup in the mid-term and the drive towards expanded connected services in the future.

Conrad Groenewald
Conrad Groenewald

Buthelezi, who joined Ford in 2002 and has held several positions in sales planning, dealer development, government fleet sales and regional sales, was appointed corporate transformation manager in 2019 and plays a crucial role in implementing Ford’s transformation strategy.

Hill said the changes to the leadership team reflect a wealth of experience and talent in the Ford South Africa business.

“We are confident that Dhiren, Conrad and Esther will make a valuable contribution to the future success of Ford South Africa,” he said.

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