Management changes at Nissan Africa

Nissan Africa unveiled a new leadership structure that took effect on 1 April 2023 to drive the company’s mid-term plan.

Nissan Africa

“These are clear signals of the importance of Africa to Nissan globally through this new, increased focus on the continent,” says Joni Paiva who is the newly appointed Africa President. Paiva will also continue his current position as Divisional Vice President, overseeing Sales and Marketing, India.

Joni Paiva.


Sherief Eldessouky has been appointed Managing Director of Nissan Africa with effect from 1 April 2023, replacing Mike Whitfield, who will now become the Group Strategic Advisor for Policies, Political Affairs and External Relations.

“I am thrilled about this opportunity that I have been given,” says Mike who established Nissan Africa as a regional business unit in 2020. “Africa is a key market with unmatched growth potential, and the way we unlock that will be through a combination of intelligent mobility solutions and creating a coalition of willing countries to develop a thriving and sustainable automotive manufacturing industry.

Sherief Eldessouky.

Sherief, who previously combined the twin roles of being Nissan Egypt’s country director and driving the transformation of Nissan Africa, has spent his life in the automotive industry in a career that has taken him from his native Egypt to Brazil, China, Korea, the United States and Uzbekistan, among others.

He joined Nissan in 2020 as head of the OEM’s automotive manufacturing operation in Egypt and was appointed country director at the end of that year.

“Nissan is well positioned on the continent, with an incredible legacy,” says Sherief. “Our job as a management team has been to establish just how we bring more wealth and value to a region with promising automotive growth opportunities with its rate of 42 vehicles per 1 000 compared to the global average of 182.”

“I am confident that with the team we have in Africa and the support that we get from our Nissan colleagues in the rest of the world, that we will achieve this.”

Mike Whitfield.

The position of country director Nissan Egypt will be filled by Mohamed Samad, who will return to Cairo from Japan where he has been based. Kabelo Rabotho remains country director for Nissan South Africa.

Maciej Klenkiewicz, currently Managing Director RBU Central Eastern Europe (CEE), will expand his current scope to include Independent Markets Africa, making the most of his previous ASEAN importer management experience replacing Hide Kuwayama who is assuming a new position in Nissan’s global headquarters.

The appointments are the latest iterations in a raft of changes and consolidations that have seen Nissan Africa take responsibility for the North African territories of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia last year.

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