JOHANNESBURG - Ray Levin, CEO of Kia Motors SA, has taken top honours in the 15th South African Jewish Report’s awards for influential Jewish businessmen.He was nominated in the 2013 Unlisted Company of the Year category but ended up accepting the top honours, sharing his award with Ran Neu-Ner and Gil Oved from The Creative Counsel.The awards dinner was held on August 15 at the Sandton Sun hotel and was attended by about 600 people, among them some of SA’s top Jewish businessmen.PERCEPTION TRANSFORMEDLevin started his working life as a professional chef. Today he is one of the SA auto industry’s most successful and innovative entrepreneurs. Over the past 15 years he has grown from car salesman to expand Kia’s footprint from 12 to nearly 70 dealers across the country.He and his team have since 1998 transformed the perception of the Kia brand to a highly desirable entity. Levin said: “The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup was no doubt a turning point for KMSA. Since then our company has grown month by month.”Levin is also passionate about the community and supports a variety of non-profit charities and CSI programmes, among them Shout SA, the Smile Foundation, Cansa and KMSA’s own CSI initiative, Kia Street Soccer, an initiative that focuses on youth development through life-skills coaching, nutrition education and the development of sporting talent.