On Thursday, Toyota Motor Corporation announced that Akio Toyoda, the current President and Chief Executive, will be stepping down from his position on April 1st. He will be succeeded by Koji Sato, the current Chief Branding Officer. Sato, who is 53 years old, has been leading the Toyota Lexis division and the GAZOO racing company since 2020.
Toyota Motor Corporation announced that Akio Toyoda, the current President and Chief Executive, will be stepping down from his position on April 1st. He will become the new chairman of the board, while the current Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada will continue as a member of the board. Toyoda, who is 66 years old and the grandson of the carmaker’s founder, has served as chief executive since June 2009.
He stated in a translated webcast, “I thought the best way to further Toyota’s transformation would be for me to become chairman in support of a new president, and this has led to today’s decision. Chairman Uchiyamada has long supported me in all imaginable ways. In retrospect, these 13 years have been a period of struggling to survive one day after the next, and that is my honest feeling.”
“The current Toyota structural change has been triggered by my resignation,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, the current Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, in a statement. He emphasized that he had been considering his retirement for some time to make way for a new generation. “The foundation for passing the baton to the next generation has been laid,” he said.
Koji Sato, the incoming President, spoke about his vision for the future, stating, “Cars in the future will evolve in the concept of mobility itself. Amid such, I hope to preserve the essential value of the car and propose new forms of mobility,” Sato said, adding that this represents the mission of the new leadership team. Ahead of the announcement, shares of Toyota listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange ended the session 0.63% lower on Thursday.
Toyota Motor Corporation, which was a pioneer in green automobiles with the introduction of its hybrid Prius in 1997, has faced criticism for the slow pace at which it has adopted fully-electric vehicles, compared to newcomers such as Tesla. In December 2021, the company announced plans to produce 30 EV models by 2030.
In December 2022, a consortium led by Toyota secured funding to develop a hydrogen fuel cell pickup truck in the U.K. On Thursday, incoming President Koji Sato acknowledged that Toyota must continue its efforts towards sustainability, stating, “Energy security, for example, that is a big challenge that the whole planet needs to face. And also that the endeavor towards carbon neutrality will be one example of what we have to work on.”