Isuzu Motors South Africa chairman, Shigeji Sugimoto, says that Tom will play an instrumental role in leading the company through the unprecedented and challenging operating environment ahead.
"Covid-19 has completely changed the world as we know it and it is now important that as a business we move forward in recognising that we are in untravelled territory and thus need to be open to all possibilities. This will require agility, flexibility and a willingness to doing things in new ways, and we believe that Tom will provide strong leadership in this regard."
Sugimoto further says that one of Tom's other strong traits is his customer-centric approach, which will reportedly ensure that he is tuned in to the rapidly changing expectations of customers and as such will be able to adapt the company's strategies accordingly. "Our customers are our reason for existence and we need to always ensure that we put their needs first."
Sugimoto paid tribute to Michael Sacke for the way he has led the company through its transition and first two years of operation at Isuzu Motors South Africa.
Tom has over 22 years of experience in the automotive, banking and FMCG sectors. He started his career at Distell and then worked at SABMiller, Standard Bank, General Motors and finally at Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa/Abi, where he spent his last 12 years. His most recent role there was as general manager: alternative revenue streams, where he was responsible for soft drinks exports into Africa, Asia and Australasia.
In addition to this, he looked after Venturing and Emerging Brands, which was focused on introducing new brands into the market, along with a coffee business. Prior to this, he was general manager for the Inland Region, which had the biggest geography, spanning across 46% of the company's territory in South Africa.
Between 2007 and 2016 he filled various commercial roles ranging from area manager to district manager and acting general manager. Prior to this at General Motors, he was involved in setting up the premium vehicle channel, which led to the launch of the Cadillac and Hummer brands and dealerships in South Africa.
Tom, who has a bachelor of commerce degree (Rhodes University) and a master of business leadership degree (Unisa), says that his immediate priority would be to strengthen the resilience of the business, particularly given the major global and local economic disruptions arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
"In challenging times like these, it is important to keep calm, focused and to be flexible and innovative in delivering products and services to customers. The landscape is shifting quickly and we need to respond to this with purpose and speed," says Tom.