Ford South Africa appoints first women CFO

Ford South Africa has appointed Yota Baron as its first women CFO in its 97-year history.

Ford South Africa has appointed Yota Baron as its first woman CFO in the company’s 97-year history. Originally from South Africa, Yota takes over as the CFO of the local operations from Joseph Verga, who will be repatriating back to the United States.

“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,” says Yota. “It’s 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.”

Yota returns to South Africa from Dubai, where she played an instrumental role in setting up the regional Ford Dubai finance team for Middle East and Africa, and was responsible for financial control of the marketing sales and services division for two and a half years, before taking over the role of profit manager in March 2018, and finally being appointed CFO for Ford Direct Markets in September 2020.

About returning to South Africa, Yota says: “Being reunited with our daughters, family and friends after a long separation due to travel restrictions has been a blessing and cannot be measured.”

Prior to relocating to Dubai, Yota was the operations controller at Ford South Africa, responsible for the financial management of the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and the Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), between August 2013 and September 2015.

This followed almost seven years within the finance arm of the Asia Pacific region in Bangkok and Shanghai, first as marketing sales and services controller from 2007, then moving into the business planning manager role in 2010.

“We welcome Yota back to the Ford South Africa family, where her vast global experience in finance will further enhance our drive to reinvigorate our business as we focus on creating must-have products and services, treating customers like family and delivering on our goal of turning our automotive operations around to be more competitive,” says Ford South Africa MD Neale Hill.

“It is fitting that the announcement of Yota’s appointment happens in August, which is Women’s Month, as she will be Ford South Africa’s first female CFO,” Neale adds. “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.”