Koji Sato named Toyota CEO; Akio Toyoda becomes chairman

Sato will also have to chart a course for a carbon-neutral future while balancing the automaker’s broader customer needs while fending off nimble new rivals from places like Silicon Valley and China.

Sato must reinvent Toyota for a new era while preserving all the corporate culture that has long been the secret to the automaker’s success.

Mr. Toyoda is the grandson of Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of the automobile company, and the son of Shoichiro Toyoda, who was the company’s former president until 1992. First non-family member in 10 years.

Toyoda took over his family’s namesake automaker just as it suffered its first operating loss in 70 years amid the depth of the global financial crisis.

He soon faced another trial in a 2010 recall scandal surrounding claims of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. Stalled, Toyota went into defensive mode.

“There weren’t any peaceful days,” recalled Toyoda.

Toyoda responded by “deliberately pausing” rampant expansion to reorganize by focusing on quality and improving products. By pursuing a more sustainable pace, Toyota quickly set itself on a path to new heights in earnings, sales and accolades.

In recent years, Toyota has stepped up its electrification race, investing billions in electric vehicles and batteries toward its goal of selling 3.5 million EVs annually by 2030.

In recent years, as Toyoda passed his 60th birthday, speculation began to mount about his eventual helm. When asked about succession plans at the company’s annual shareholder meeting last summer, Mr. Toyoda disputed his blunt answer, but the incoming president must have “an unwavering belief in why Toyota exists.” said no.

Sato joined Toyota Motor Corporation in 1992 after graduating from the prestigious Waseda University in Japan with an engineering degree. He was appointed chief engineer at his Lexus International Co. His notable accomplishments included leading the development of his super-sexy Lexus LC Coupe.

He became president of both Lexus International Co. and Gazoo Racing Co. In these positions, he is often seen arguing trackside with Toyota at various racing events. Among them will be Toyota joining as the driver of his car, Carbon Neutral, which is in development.

In working closely with Mr. Toyoda, Mr. Sato has absorbed many of his perspectives and ethics, indicating that he intends to champion key elements of the Toyota Way. Speaking about his boss in an interview last year, Sato said, “He’s a leader who shows the team the vision and philosophy of the brand….As a master driver, Akio’s sensor is very important.”

But Sato is also a leader who isn’t afraid to shake things up.

by talking to car news Shortly after he bought Lexus, Mr. Toyoda said he gave him one simple and straightforward mission. At Lexus, it’s been transformed into something sexy.

“If the question is eco or emotion, I choose emotion,” Sato said.

Toyoda said it would be important for Sato to manage the company as a team rather than as a one-man show.

Mr. Toyoda said, “Until now, I have led the company with my own characteristics.” should be born.”

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