Toyota’s president and CEO Akio Toyoda will step down from his post on April 1, 2023, the Japanese carmaker announced recently in a surprising reshuffle of its executive structure. The 66-year-old, who is grandson of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda, first took over the company in 2009.
Aside from his business duties, Toyoda is also an avid racer, competing under the alter ego ‘Morizo’. In early 2017, he announced that there would be “no more boring cars,” which led to a revamp of the brand’s line-up. Examples include the latest Prius as well as several Gazoo Racing (GR) models like the GR Supra, GR86, GR Yaris and GR Corolla.
Toyoda will remain with Toyota as the chairman of the board of directors, with current chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada set to become a member of the board instead. Despite not heading the company moving forward, experts says Toyoda will still be a dominant force inside the world’s largest automaker.
“The new appointment is less about a change in direction and more about careful consideration of the best possible way to organise the handover, avoiding disruption and chaos,” said Julie Boote, an analyst at Pelham Smithers Associates in London, as reported by Reuters. “It’s likely that he’ll remain active as chairman for a long time and continue to put his mark on Toyota,” she added.
Toyoda will be replaced by 53-year-old Koji Sato, who has been the president of Lexus and Gazoo Racing since 2020. Sato will become Toyota’s 12th president and joins a handful of people without the Toyoda family name to head the company.
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