Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 4 November 2019 – Shaun Uys, Managing Director of Continental Tyre South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, has been selected as Africa MD of the Year for 2019 by Global 100 – an annual publication with a readership of over 293 000 industry leaders in 163 countries, spanning a wide range of sectors.
According to Global 100, the magazine’s annual awards programme recognises the achievements and expertise of companies and individuals operating to the highest standard across the globe. Nominees are shortlisted by means of market research, client nominations, referrals, press coverage and industry awards to identify those firms and individuals demonstrating outstanding achievements. The global readership accounts for approximately 21 per cent of the votes, and the firm or individual whose performance and values exhibit the closest match with Global 100’s selection criteria, is chosen as the winner in their category.
Uys has been integral to the success of Continental’s tyre division since joining the company in 2000 as a Production Manager at the Port Elizabeth plant. He has held various positions within the organization both locally and globally, including the role of Head of Truck Tyres Pricing in the Marketing and Sales department at the company’s global headquarters in Hanover, Germany. He also served as Sales Director, NAFTA replacement Truck Tyre business, Marketing and Sales in Charlotte, USA.
On his return to South Africa in 2010, Uys was appointed as Project Manager to implement a tyre retail organisation, and he was subsequently promoted to General Manager, Sales and Marketing in 2012. In these roles, Uys set into motion CTSA’s expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa as part of Continental’s long-term growth strategy, known as Vision 2025.
“Our objective for developing a retail business in Africa was to ensure a secure route to market for Continental amongst fierce competition,” Uys says. “We established the ContiTrade Africa business unit and the BestDrive franchise retail chain, and our first franchise store opened in November 2012.
“I am exceptionally proud to say that BestDrive is one of the fastest-growing tyre fitment networks in the region, and we currently have over 140 BestDrive franchise stores located in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.”
Another key goal was to keep a finger on the pulse of the retail tyre industry, so Continental built a company-owned flagship BestDrive store in Port Elizabeth, which is also home to the ContiAcademy – a modern, state of the art facility that provides ongoing skills development and training for the franchise network.
“In an ever-changing market, the BestDrive franchise network has allowed dealers to diversify and adapt to the needs of the consumer by providing solutions not only for their tyres but also to service other vehicle requirements such as shock absorbers, brakes and batteries. This adds convenience for our customers, and contributes to the sustainability of our franchised dealers,” Uys explains.
Unlocking Africa’s potential
“While our headquarters and manufacturing operations remain in South Africa, I believe that Africa holds enormous potential,” Uys says. “Our confidence and belief in the future of Africa led to the establishment of Continental Tire West Africa as a legal entity in Ghana in 2016, which has a dedicated team responsible for the marketing and sales of Continental tyre brands in 22 countries across the region.
“Despite the highly complex nature of these markets, Continental is gaining traction in the market and brand recognition of our products is continuously improving.”
Further driving its reach into Africa, Continental has a distribution network in East Africa, catering to 12 strategic mainlands and Indian Ocean island markets.
“Our focus is on meeting the needs of our customers through providing a compelling portfolio of products to cover the budget and premium sectors across the passenger, commercial and speciality tyre segments,” Uys explains. “Combined with retail solutions optimized for specific market requirements, this gives Continental a significant advantage over our competitors. With a vast footprint of networks and partnerships in over 30 countries across Africa, we are ideally placed to unleash the potential of this dynamic and diverse continent.”