Mike Whitfield at the helm of AAAM

Mike Whitfield, second-generation chairman of Nissan South Africa, has just been elected president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) at the organisation’s recent annual AGM.

Mike Whitfield, second-generation chairman of Nissan South Africa

Whitfield takes over from Thomas Schaerfer, the chairman and managing director of Volkswagen South Africa, who was at the reins for the last three years. Andrew Kirby, president and CEO of Toyota SA Motors, steps in as Vice-President.

Whitfield, who ran the South African company after following in the footsteps of his father, made his international mark when he was appointed chairman of Nissan Africa South in July 2019, the Nissan division that looks after all the sub-Saharan African countries.

He was soon thereafter appointed as Managing Director of Nissan Motor Egypt and is currently based in Giza. Shinkichi Izumi, who served under Whitfield as Deputing Managing Director, stepped into the role of Managing Director in South Africa.

Whitfield joined Nissan South Africa in 1981 as a marketing trainee and has since held various management positions in sales and marketing before being appointed director of the heavy vehicle division in 1993.

After being appointed as Nissan SA's managing director in 2008, Mike served a term as president of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) and vice-president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers.

“Being president of AAAM will allow me to utilise my extensive experience in the motoring industry, as well as in my previous roles at AAAM to build on the work done to date. Now that we have Dave Coffey as CEO for AAAM in place, we can bring to fruition some of the exciting projects that AAAM is working on,” said Whitfield.

The AAAM was established in November 2015 and is the only African body focusing on the expansion and deepening of the automotive industry across the continent. The AAAM works with governments to shape and implement policies that will attract investors, unlock the economic potential of the continent and align a global network of stakeholders committed to the development of the automotive industry in Africa.

Office bearers of the AAAM are elected on an annual basis.

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