January 27, 2023: Toyota Motor Corporation’s President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda will resign from his positions on April 1 to be welcomed by current Chief Branding Officer Koji Sato, the Japanese automaker declared on Thursday.
Sato, aged 53, has been going to the Toyota Lexis division and the GAZOO racing business since 2020.
Toyoda will become the board’s new chairman, while the current Chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada, will remain a board member.
Toyoda, aged 66, is the grandson of the founder of the carmaker and has served as chief executive starting June 2009.
“I thought the good way to promote Toyota’s transformation would be for me to be the new chairman in support of a new president, which has led to today’s decision. Chairman Uchiyamada has long helped me in all imaginable ways,” Toyoda stated in a translated webcast.
“In retrospect, these 13 long years have been a struggle to survive one day following the next, and that is my honest feeling,” he added.
“My resignation has triggered the current Toyota structural change,” Uchiyamada stated, stressing that he had been thinking about the timing of his retirement for “some time” to make way for the upcoming generation.
“The foundation for passing the baton to the further generation has been laid,” he further stated.
“Cars in the future will change in the point of mobility itself. Amid such, I hope to protect the essential value of the car and propose recent forms of mobility,” Sato stated, adding that this represented the mission of the new leadership team.
Tokyo-listed shares of Toyota are ending the session 0.63% lower on Thursday ahead of the statement.
A pioneer of green automobiles in 1997 with the revealing of its hybrid Prius, the company has fended criticism more than the speed at which it has gained fully-electric vehicles, playing catch-up to newcomers like Tesla.
On Thursday, Sato acknowledged Toyota must resume its green efforts, “Energy security, for instance, is a big challenge that the entire planet needs to face. And also, the endeavour towards carbon neutrality will be one example of what we must work on.”