63 year old, Dr Johan van Zyl, passed away on Saturday from COVID-19-related complications in a Pretoria hospital. Van Zyl was the Executive Chairperson of Toyota South Africa. Toyota South Africa said the passing of ‘the doc’, as he was affectionately known, was a great loss to the automotive industry, as he not only contributed to the success of Toyota both locally and internationally but played a pivotal role in the sector’s growth.

Dr van Zyl began his career with Toyota in 1993, when he was appointed Director of Vehicle Sales & Dealer Network for Toyota South Africa. He was promoted to the role of President and COO of TSA in 2002, before becoming President and CEO in 2003. In June 2009, he was appointed as Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and became CEO of the Africa Region in April 2013.

Sihle Zikalala, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal where Toyota SA is based, paid tribute to van Zyl, calling him “one of the most formidable business minds that the country has ever produced”. “We wish members of his family, his friends and associates strength during this difficult time and hope. May they find comfort in the knowledge that Dr Van Zyl’s life was a life well lived and in service of the country.” 

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