The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Board has announced the appointment of seasoned automotive executive Denise van Huyssteen as its Chief Executive Officer, taking over from Nomkhita Mona who was recently appointed as the Group Executive Officer for the South African Post Office.
“We are very excited about the appointment of Denise into this role as she has a good understanding of the business environment, having served as Director on the Chamber’s Board for the past seven years,” says Andrew Muir, President of the Chamber. “During this time she has played an instrumental role in supporting the Task Teams, was a valued participant on our EXCO, and actively contributed towards our strategic direction and lobbying initiatives.”
He said that a rigorous and transparent recruitment process had been followed to ensure that the most suited person be appointed into the role. “A panel of Board Members took responsibility for short-listing the applicants for the advertised position, following which various assessments and interviews were undertaken where candidates were rated in line with key performance criteria.”
Muir emphasised that the timing for the appointment of Denise into the role could not have been better, particularly considering the massive impact Covid-19 has had on the business environment. “It has dramatically affected business models, the way business is conducted and has rapidly changed customer expectations. We therefore need a resilient leader with demonstrated agility and experience in managing crisis issues, who also has a flexible and open-minded approach in responding to ongoing changes in the environment.”
“Denise is well suited to this role given her extensive crisis and change management experience, particularly as a result of the work she did in project managing the General Motors exit from the South African market,” he emphasises. “Furthermore she has an in-depth understanding of the automotive environment which accounts for around 40% of our Metropolitan area’s GDP.”
Key initial priorities for the new Chamber CEO will include the finalisation and implementation of a new strategic direction for the Chamber, a greater focus on ensuring that tangible value is provided to accommodate the changed needs of members and continuing to drive for an enabling environment in which business can operate and grow.
Denise has over 20 years experience in the automotive industry in leadership roles. During her time at General Motors South Africa she was a member of their Executive Committee and led Communications teams in South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Dubai. Key highlights of her career include reputation managing the General Motors (GM) return to the country, then later the impact of the GM Chapter 11 bankruptcy on the brands it offered in the South African market and more recently the GM exit from the South African and Kenyan markets.
For more than a decade she served as a member of the Executive Committee of General Motors South Africa and then later for Isuzu Motors South Africa. She began her career in the automotive manufacturing industry in July 2000 when she was appointed to the position of Manager Corporate Communications at Delta Motor Corporation.
She has served as the Chairperson of General Motors’ International Women’s Council, as a Trustee of the GM South Africa Foundation and was a Director on the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board from 2013 to 2020.