Toyota President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda will step down from his post on April 1, to be replaced by current Chief Branding Officer Koji Sato, according to the official announcement made by the Japanese automaker. The 53-year-old Sato has been heading the Toyota Lexis division and the GAZOO racing company since 2020.
Akio Toyoda will become the new chairman of the board, while the current Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada will continue as a member of the board. The 66 years old Toyoda is the grandson of the carmaker’s founder and has served as chief executive since June 2009. Toyoda said 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.”
Commenting on the development, Koji Sato said he will represent the mission of the new leadership team:
“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 also acknowledged that Toyota must continue its green efforts. He said: “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.”
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