Incoming Toyota President Akio Toyoda Planning To Axe Management?

By David Surace

01.22.2009

Bloomberg is reporting that Toyota’s in-bound President Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company’s original founder Kiichiro Toyoda, plans to replace most of Toyota’s current management structure when he comes into office in June to take the place of outbound president Katsuake Watanabe, according to “people […] who asked not to be identified because the changes haven’t yet been announced”. According to those same sources, Watanabe would then stay on board to become vice chairman.

The axe-swinging is most likely related to the recent operating losses and drop in sales (some 15% last year), and would involve not only the company’s other four executive VP’s, but also almost all of the nineteen senior managing directors on staff. Whether they would end up at other posts within the company or sacked altogether isn’t clear.

Akio’s own father, Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, and Advisor Hiroshi Okuda may have already agreed to step down voluntarily, according to a release by Chairman Fujio Cho on the 20th of this month.

This is actually somewhat consistent with Japan’s current economic climate and corporate culture, not only in a modern-day context (the Bloomberg article cites similar head-loppings at Mizuho Financial and Sanyo Electric, both companies facing the same losses this year), but also from within Toyoda’s own family; Kiichiro Toyoda, Akio’s grandfather and the automotive company’s original founder, voluntarily resigned alongside his fellow executives in 1948 when the company faced similarly flagging profits, which resulted in massive layoffs and an impending strike. He died of a stroke four years later, never to see his company’s massive spike in profitability in 1959, which continued unbroken until last year.

Toyota Corporate and Toyota of North America are still declining to comment on any changes in the company’s management.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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8 Comments

  1. It’s great that there is SOME accountability at Toyota, but these guys will just get shuffled to some other job, because that’s the Japanese way.

  2. WOW! I really enjoyed reading this article. The writer is very gifted and made it an easy read. I will pass this site on to my guy friends. They will eat this up.

  3. must be the authors sister

    well, it was good

  4. no it wasn’t his sister….i’m his sister 🙂 however, I do agree that he is a gifted writer.

    🙂

  5. Reality has intruded on the planet Toyota. Along with impending layoffs of producttion people, it shows even Toyota is not immune to the savage beating the economy is putting down.

  6. Cheerful looking fellow that Toyoda.

  7. I called regarding and issue at your CA office they would not allow me to speak to you. As a CEO you should be more than willing to assist any customers that can not get a matter resolved. I call 7am set and 1 phone call well I’m-impatient as i am found out that supervisor on vacation and no one had the thought to call me back. I am missing work which means nothing to you cause you get your weekly paycheck no matter if you show up or or not. I have decided that toyota must have tons of issues. Or i would have had a response.

    I would love to talk to you however they say your not available to talk to anyone. well I’m going to find the main number japan and com pain and complain owned a toyota till 16 and bragged about how wonderful they are now i have one issue that no one cares about………….this issue will be sent out to everyone i know who owns a Toyota. asking them to reconsider the toyota support

  8. Tracy, why on earth would you think that commenting on a four year old blog post about Akio Toyoda was a good way to contact him? I could probably think of 50,000 better ways to do so before picking this one You’re not going to change anyone’s mind without describing your issue in much more detail, either (not that this particular post is the best forum for that, either).

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