Dr. Johan Van Zyl

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr Johan van Zyl on Friday evening, July 30th, 2021. This unfortunate loss has come as a shock to all of us. We have lost a much loved and admired leader - and an amazing person - who will always be remembered for his humour, calmness and personal empathy. 

Dr van Zyl began his career with Toyota in 1993, when he was appointed Director of Vehicle Sales & Dealer Network for Toyota South Africa (TSA). He was promoted to the role of President and COO of TSA in 2002, before becoming President and CEO in 2003. In June 2009, Dr van Zyl was appointed a Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and became CEO of the Africa Region in April 2013. In 2015, he took on the role of President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe (TME) and became a Senior Managing Officer of TMC in April 2017. Dr van Zyl retired from TME at the end of March, but remained as Chairman of TSA on his return to South Africa. 

In addition to all of his successes in the corporate world, Johan will most be remembered for his humanity, his ability to remember the name of each person he came into contact with, his self-deprecating sense of humour that immediately put everyone at ease and his extensive general knowledge. 

Matt Harrison, the current President & CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, expressed his thoughts on the passing of Dr van Zyl: “Dr van Zyl’s successful leadership, vision and tireless efforts for Toyota, for our employees and for the automotive sector will be sorely missed. We have lost an inspirational leader and an amazing human being. For those of us who were fortunate enough to work closely with Johan, we will always remember him as a great mentor, who had a story to share on any topic and who truly cared about people. No words can truly express the sadness we feel at his passing, or the gratitude we feel for having had the privilege of working with him. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to his wife, daughters and his grandchildren.”