Celestin Ndhlovu is the newly-appointed Vice President of Strategy, Business Planning and Marketing at Isuzu Motors South Africa. Having held a broad range of positions in the motor industry since 2002, he is well placed to lead the process of defining the future state of the organisation.
Ndhlovu is tasked with developing a clear product and mobility solutions portfolio for Africa in cooperation with Isuzu’s Corporate Head Office in Japan. The new role oversees Product Planning, Marketing and Corporate Planning. Key priorities are to ensure that Isuzu’s products resonate well with current and future customer demands.
“Isuzu South Africa is on a growth trajectory and we have developed a structure to support the business on its growth trajectory,” said Ndhlovu. “We have split the revenue generation pillars into SACU (Southern African Customs Union) and the Rest of Africa markets. The Marketing function will play a key role in supporting these two pillars in growing the Brand strength and the market share. To ensure that they are supported effectively without creating duplicate marketing structures, we have moved the Marketing function into the Strategy and Corporate Planning function. This enables Marketing to become more strategic in aligning to current and future customers.
“For product planning, we need to ensure we have the right products and mobility solutions for the future. We have great products now and making positive gains in the market. We need to keep a focus on what we need for the future as well. Within the Strategy and Business Planning function, our key responsibility is to respond to that the future needs of the markets in which we operate are adequately catered for.”
Ndhlovu is well poised to drive Isuzu into the future having been in the industry for the past two decades. He has spent time in different roles including Information Technology, Purchasing, Supplier Quality, Logistics and Vehicle distribution, and Catalytic Converter Component exports into the USA, Europe, and Asian markets.
Celestin holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Nelson Mandela Metro University. He was a guest lecturer at the school for 10 years between 2009 and 2019.
“There is a reason why the view is wider through the windscreen than that through the rear-view mirror,” said Ndhlovu. “You need to have a clear view of where you are going and clear sight of upcoming obstacles in order to prepare accordingly. These preparations help to create the future value our organisation needs to be sustainable and successful. It is critical for Isuzu to develop a future-proof product portfolio which will satisfy the demands of future customers.”
Ndhlovu enjoys outdoor activities and is an avid basketball player and long-distance runner.
“I often make decisions based on successes I have seen in sport. Running has also helped me realise that everyone is in their own race. We start from the same starting line, and while you may be faster than some, some may be faster than you. Run your own race and be comfortable with your pace. Isuzu South Africa is running their own race and it is a beautiful race.”