Martina Biene replaces Robert Cisek as VWSA’s first female MD

Martina Biene returns to VWSA as the new MD.
Martina Biene returns to VWSA as the new MD.

Martina Biene has been appointed the new chair and MD of Volkswagen SA (VWSA), the first woman to lead the local carmaker.

Her appointment is effective November 1 and she succeeds Robert Cisek, who leaves VWSA to take up the position of head of VW small and compact product line in Wolfsburg, Germany. He will report to Thomas Schaefer, CEO of the Volkswagen passenger car brand and former MD of VWSA.

Biene, currently the head of VW line in Wolfsburg, returns to VWSA for her second spell, following her tenure as the head of VW passenger brand from October 2018 to August 2020.

She has 20 years’ experience in the VW Group, having worked in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and South Africa.

Cisek took over the reins at VWSA in November 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and led the local company through a turbulent period of semiconductor shortages, which affected the Kariega plant production and vehicle sales. Cisek also ensured that no jobs were lost at VWSA during this period.

“I would like to thank Robert for steering VWSA to a stable position during a highly challenging period for the local and global automotive industry. I am looking forward to having him back in Wolfsburg to head our small and compact product line, which will play an important part in the future of our product portfolio in emerging markets like SA,” said Schaefer.

Volkswagen has been assembling cars in SA since 1951 and its Kariega plant produces the Polo for the local and export markets, as well as the Polo Vivo for the local market.


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