YOTA Baron has spent her 31-year career at Ford, and succeeds Joseph Verga, who will be repatriating to the US after four years as CFO. Photo supplied.
YOTA Baron has spent her 31-year career at Ford, and succeeds Joseph Verga, who will be repatriating to the US after four years as CFO. Photo supplied.

Baron makes history as Ford SA’s first female CFO in 97 years

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Aug 3, 2021

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FORD SOUTH Africa has appointed seasoned executive Yota Baron as its first female chief financial officer (CFO) in the company’s 97-year history, the group said yesterday.

Originally from South Africa, Baron has spent her 31-year career at Ford, and succeeds Joseph Verga, who will be repatriating to the US after four years as CFO.

Commenting on the appointment, Ford South Africa’s managing director, Neale Hill, said it was fitting that the announcement of Yota’s appointment was made in August, Women’s Month, as she would be Ford South Africa’s first female CFO.

“Her intimate knowledge of the local operations, matched to her extensive financial acumen on a global stage, will be invaluable during this exciting new chapter for Ford in South Africa.

“We also extend our gratitude to Pepe (Joseph Verga) for his sound financial leadership of the company over the past five years, and wish him every success for his return to the US,” said Hill.

Baron has previously served as CFO for direct markets within the Ford International Markets Group.

“I am humbled by my appointment to serve as Ford South Africa’s CFO, having the opportunity to pay forward my learnings and experience while working abroad.

“It is an honour and a privilege, and I look forward to contributing to Ford South Africa’s future success, serving in the communities we work in and being back under the African sun,” said Baron.

Ford said in a statement that Baron was instrumental in setting up the finance team in the regional Ford Dubai office for the Middle East and Africa, where she was responsible for the financial control of the marketing, sales and service division for two-anda-half years, before taking over the role of profit manager in March 2018 – a position she held until she was appointed CFO for Ford Direct Markets in September last year.

In February, Ford South Africa announced the biggest investment in its history when it said it would spend $1.05 billion (about R15.8bn) to boost its production capability and create an additional 1 200 jobs, bringing the local workforce to 5 500.

Through the investment, Ford’s Silverton assembly plant was expected to generate revenues exceeding 1.1 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product.

Ford said annual installed capacity at the Silverton plant would be beefed-up to 200 000 vehicles from 168 000, supporting production of the all-new Ford Ranger pick-up truck for the domestic market and for export to more than 100 global markets.

Ford said that the plant would also manufacture Volkswagen pickups trucks as part of the Ford-VW strategic alliance.

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