EUROPEAN OPERATIONS HEAD
Johan van Zyl
CEO, Europe region, South Africa, Toyota
TITLE: CEO, Europe region, South Africa
BASED: Brussels, Belgium
NATIONALITY: South African
CAREER HIGHLIGHTSVan Zyl started at Toyota in 1993 in his native South Africa as sales director. He rose through the ranks to become head of the Africa region in 2009. In 2011 he added Middle East and Latin America to his responsibilities. Van Zyl has overseen Toyota in the wider European region, including Russia, since April 2015.
REASON FOR WINNINGUnder van Zyl Toyota has continued its renaissance in Europe. Buyers have responded to a push by the company to make the cars more visually exciting, and Toyota thwarted challenges from Nissan, Hyundai and Kia to remain the No. 1-selling Asian brand in the region. Van Zyl has helped make Toyota's European business consistently profitable by boosting hybrids to more than half of the automaker's sales in Western Europe. He has also started to phase out diesels from most of Toyota's European lineup.