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Volkswagen B-BBEE Initiatives Trust welcomes new CEO

  • Neeraj Kessery appointed as CEO from 1 August 2022
  • Kessery has served as a Trustee since February 2020

Kariega – Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has welcomed Neeraj Kessery to the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Volkswagen B-BBEE Initiatives Trust.

Kessery, who took up this position on 1 August 2022, takes over from Sipha Ndawonde, who has been at the helm of the Trust since it was established in 2016. Ndawonde will remain a Trustee with the organisation.a

Though it carries the name Volkswagen, the Trust is managed independently by a Board of Trustees, and the aim of the Trust is to increase the number of quality black-owned suppliers and businesses in the automotive sector value chain, through both financial and non-financial assistance. The Trust has supported seven businesses to date, through various programmes.

Kessery brings to his new role a total of 24 years’ experience in the automotive sector. After obtaining his B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering, Kessery started his career at a Mercedes-Benz dealership, after which he joined BMW through a graduate programme. Following eight years in various departments within BMW, he moved to the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC). In this role, Kessery was hands-on in advancing transformation in the automotive industry, as he was charged with setting up supplier incubator hubs at several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Ford and Nissan. Kessery spent 12 years with the AIDC.

“I feel I’m in a good position, having worked with various manufacturers, because the bigger mandate of transformation goes beyond Volkswagen or any single OEM,” said Kessery. “As I’ve been a trustee for two years, I am also not coming in brand new; I’ve had the opportunity to learn from my peers.”

He looks forward to investing in more businesses and helping them develop into successful players in the value chain. “I’m excited that our work as the Trust has an element of township economy development, but equally excited that I get to interact with formal enterprises. In township businesses you can really see the impact you’re making, but in formalised business you can make a huge impact in terms of job creation.

“Going forward, I would like to look at what additional value the Trust can offer, so businesses can be more profitable and optimise the way they do things. Ideally, we would offer a full suite of services and connect individuals with opportunities.”

“We are proud to welcome Neeraj in his new role for the Trust,” said Trustee and VWSA’s Director for Corporate and Government Affairs, Nonkqubela Maliza. “He has already shown his worth as a Trustee and we look forward to seeing his further contributions to transformation in the automotive sector. We also thank Sipha for the fantastic work done during his tenure and are grateful we can continue to benefit from his involvement as a Trustee.”