Martina Biene takes the tiller at VWSA

Martina Biene, who is currently the Head of Volkswagen Small and Compact Product Line, will succeed Robert Cisek as the Chairperson and Managing Director of VWSA.

Martina Biene

Robert will leave Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) on 31 October 2022 to take up the position of Head of Volkswagen Small and Compact Product Line in Wolfsburg, Germany, reporting to Thomas Schaefer, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand. Interestingly, Thomas preceded Robert as CEO of VWSA.

Robert took over the reins at VWSA in November 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He successfully led VWSA through a turbulent period of semiconductor shortages, which impacted on Kariega plant production and vehicle sales. The group credits him with ensuring that no jobs were lost at VWSA during this period.

Martina is returning to VWSA for her second spell, following her tenure as the Head of Volkswagen Passenger Brand from October 2018 until August 2020. She has 20 years’ experience in the Volkswagen Group, having worked in Sales, Marketing, Product Planning and Product Marketing for Luxury Vehicles and the Volkswagen Brand in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and South Africa.

“I would like to thank Robert for steering VWSA to a stable position during a highly challenging period for the local and global automotive industry. I am looking forward to having him back in Wolfsburg to head up our small and compact product line, which will play an important part in the future of our product portfolio in emerging markets like South Africa,” says Thomas.

“Martina is returning to the market that she knows very well after her successful time as the Head of the Volkswagen Brand Sales and Marketing. Her mandate is to sustain VWSA’s strong position in South Africa and to continue pursuing Volkswagen’s plans to grow the Brand in the sub-Saharan Africa markets,” he added.

  • The first woman in charge of a vehicle manufacturer in South Africa was Deborah Stewart Coleman from 2001 up to 2004 who was Group Managing Director of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. She was promoted in 2004 to Vice President of Global Quality at the Dearborn plant in Michigan in the USA.

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