Confirmed speakers at Automotive Logistics & Supply Chain Digital Strategies:

Leon Van Der Merwe ALSC

Leon van der Merwe

Vice President of Supply Chain

Toyota Motor Europe


Born in Germiston, South Africa, Leon is a charismatic leader, with extensive experience within the Automotive Industry covering tier 1, 2 and 3 companies. He joined Toyota Motor Europe in 2014, assuming the role of Vice President of Supply Chain in 2019, in charge of inbound, outbound and service parts logistics. Leon is concurrently assigned as head of manufacturing support at the carmaker, adding the responsibility for production control to his role at the beginning of 2022. Prior to joining Toyota, Leon held leadership roles with Kwik Fit in South Africa (Managing Director) and First Stop Europe (Bridgestone) in Belgium (European Managing Director and Vice President of Retail Europe at Bridgestone Europe). He graduated in 1991 from Pretoria Technikon in Mechanical Engineering.


Joachim Külgen

Head of Process Management and Digitalisation Order-to-Deliver & Logistics

BMW Group


Coming soon.

Rene Deist CDO at ZF

Dr. René Deist

Chief Digital Officer

ZF Friedrichshafen


Dr. René Deist studied Mathematics and Economics as well as Computer Science at the Ruhr University of Bochum. He did his diploma in Mathematics and doctorate research in Computer Science. From 2001 to 2020, he held various positions as chief information officer (CIO) and chief digital officer (CDO) in different global enterprises to lead digital transformation, including senior roles at major automotive suppliers, including Bosch and Faurecia. Since 2021, he has been CDO, Senior Vice President at ZF Friedrichshafen AG. With more than 20 years’ experience, Dr. Deist is competent in all business IT aspects. He manage worldwide organisation’s across ZF’s global footprint, focusing on strategy and business value of IT, and driving digital transformation.

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Gisela Linge

Vice President Global Logistics



Dr Gisela Ling is currently leading the transformation to a more digital and resilient supply chain at Autoliv, a world leading tier-1 supplier in automotive safety systems. She is responsible for driving digitalisation, aligning standards and logistics processes globally as well as driving the Scope 2 and 3 emission reduction activities and targets across the entire supply chain. Prior to joining Autoliv in 2023, she gained extensive experience during 15 years in top international companies such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Webasto and BMW. Dr Ling has led large cross-functional projects and has a passion for strategies and transformations, and as an experienced automotive SCM leader, she continues to combine strategic expertise with operational excellence to drive digital transformations.

Previous speakers at Automotive Logistics events in 2023 include:

1_Portraits Michael Nikolaides BMW 19.2.20200333

Dr Michael Nikolaides

Senior Vice-President Production Network, Supply Chain Management

BMW Group

Dr Michael Nikolaides leads BMW Group’s logistics management since February 2022. He oversees all logistics functions as well as plant allocation and programme planning for the global production network. That includes long-term network design, packaging, responsibility for partner plants, overseas supply, vehicle distribution and supply chain digitalisation. He joined BMW in 2004 and has held roles across production, programme management and strategy, including most recently as senior vice-president for engines and electrified powertrains. Dr Nikolaides studied Physics at the Technical University of Munich and Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts and holds a doctorate in Physics.


Jean-François Salles

Global Vice President of Supply Chain

Renault Group

Jean-François Salles is a senior executive with over 25 years experience in automotive manufacturing, logistics and supply chain management. He currently leads Group Renault’s supply chain and logistics activities as Global Vice President of Supply Chain, a role he has held since 2020. Previously, Jean-Francois was Alliance Global Director of Supply Chain at Renault-Nissan -Mitsubishi for 5 years, and General Manager of Capacity Planning and Control at the Renault-Nissan Alliance between 2011 – 2015. He started his career with Renault Group in 1996 succeeding in numerous roles including Project Manager Trim and Chassis Logistics, Industrial Strategy Manager and Plant Quality Manager.
Jean-Francois was also President of GALIA between 2009-2014 and graduated from Ecole Centrale de Paris with a degree in manufacturing engineering in 1992.

Dieter Braun

Dieter Braun

Head of Supply Chain



Dieter Braun became Head of Audi Brand Logistics in May 2019, and from October that year took over responsibility for the newly established Supply Chain area. In this function, he manages cross-plant logistics processes, such as program planning, international logistics, pre-series logistics, and transport logistics. He is also responsible for the logistics planning and plant logistics functions of Audi globally.
After studying Industrial Engineering at the University of Karlsruhe (KIT), Dieter Braun began his career at Audi at the Neckarsulm plant in 1991. He has worked in vehicle steering and various tasks both within and outside of logistics, particularly in the area of cost optimisation and reorganisation, and later logistics planning at the Neckarsulm location. He then moved to Puebla, Mexico to work for Volkswagen de México, where he headed logistics planning and operative logistics. He returned to Neckarsulm as head of plant Logistics in 2005, and later took on implementation of the Audi Production System and industrial engineering. He moved in 2016 to Product Line Organisation, where he was responsible for all Audi vehicles with a transverse engine.

Giulia Gherardi, Volvo Cars

Giulia Gherardi

Global Head of Outbound Logistics

Volvo Cars


Giulia Gherardi is responsible for Volvo Cars’ vehicle logistics across its global manufacturing and distribution operations. As one of the key leaders in the carmaker’s supply chain management team, she has a focus on outbound logistics strategy, global distribution network design, sourcing and digital transformation. She assumed her current role in May 2022 after leading other key functions in programme management, outbound logistics engineering and strategy for Europe and intercontinental and global planning and distribution transformation. She joined Volvo Cars in 2018 having previously worked at McKinsey & Company focused on supply chain transformation, and as head of supply chain for home and living ecommerce firm Westwing Home & Living. Originally from Italy, she has a degree in management engineering from the University of Bologna and an MsC from the Polytechnic University of Milan.

Levent Yuksel, JLR resized

Levent Yuksel

Freight Operations Director

Jaguar Land Rover


Levent Yuksel is responsible for Jaguar Land Rover’s inbound logistics and finished vehicle distribution operations across its global network. His scope involves parts collection and delivery for manufacturing, logistics network optimisation, packaging planning, finished vehicle delivery to global markets and dealers in certain regions. As the operational part of JLR’s Supply Chain Organisation, his role is key to ensure that parts are on time for production and the vehicles are delivered to the network as per customers’ expectation through seamless integration across the end-to-end supply chain in close partnership with logistics providers. Sustainability forms a basis for planning process starting from packaging planning until last mile to the customer. Yuksel has been with JLR since 2013 in central logistics functions. Prior to JLR, he worked at Toyota Turkey and Japan in production and logistics functions before leading inbound and outbound logistics for Toyota Motor Europe. He has a strong track record in continuous improvement, network efficiency and operations management.

JC Deville Sep 2022-300px

Jean-Christophe Deville

Head of Production and Vehicle Logistics

Toyota Motor Europe


In mid 2021, JC took the head of the vehicle logistics operations for Toyota Motor Europe, in a context of sales growth for Toyota. He started his career in the mid90’s at an automotive Tier 1 supplier, with positions in Europe & China. Joining Toyota in 1999, he held positions in Purchasing, Product planning and Manufacturing. He strives to bring Toyota lean manufacturing methods to vehicle logistics and make vehicle logistic a competitive differentiator for Toyota.