There will be a major change of the guard in Toyota. Akio Toyoda who has spearheaded much of the brand’s projects from motorsports to vehicle electrification will be moving up the rungs and he will be replaced at the helm by Lexus Internation and Gazoo Racing President Koji Sato.
Toyota appoints new Chairman, names new President and CEO
The changes in leadership come after the resignation of Takeshi Uchiyamada, the now-outgoing Chairman of the Board of Directors. Uchiyamada-San has been with Toyota since 1969 and was included on the Board of Directors by 1998. He has also held various important positions in the organization from being Chief officer of Vehicle Development Center 2, Managing Director and Chief Officer of the Overseas Customer Service Operations Center, Senior Managing Director, and as the appointed Chief Officer of the Vehicle Engineering Group in June 2003.
In June 2004, Uchiyamada became chief officer of the Production Control & Logistics Group, and in June 2005, he became an executive vice president. He was appointed as vice chairman of the Board of Directors in June 2012 and then Chairman in June 2013.
Filling the shoes of Akio Toyoda as President and CEO is Koji Sato. Sato-San currently sits as Operating Officer, Chief Branding Officer, and President of both Lexus International and GAZOO Racing Company.
He joined the Toyota ranks in 1992 and by 2016, he was appointed as Chief Engineer of Lexus International. In 2017, he was promoted to the position of Executive General Manager and stood at the helm of Lexus International. Only two years after that, he was appointed Executive Vice President.
2020 was likewise an eventful year for Sato when he was promoted to Operating Officer and President of Lexus International. It was also in the same year that he was appointed as the President of GAZOO Racing Company. 2021 saw Sato rise further as Toyota’s Operating Officer as well as Chief Branding Officer.
Under the leadership of Akio Toyoda, structural, business, and operational changes were seen and continue to this day. The most major of which is the establishment of GAZOO Racing. As a motorsport, high-performance brand, a lot of R&D from the branch served as the backbone of Toyota’s push for better cars on the track and on the road.
Toyoda-San, also known by his motorsport pseudonym “Morizo”, has had an illustrious career with the brand and has served posts anywhere from automotive operations, including production, to marketing and product development both in and out of Japan.
In June 2001, Toyoda became the Chief Officer of the Asia & China Operations Center, and in June 2002, he was named Managing Director.
Toyoda was made a Senior Managing Director in 2023, and by January 2005, became Chief Officer of both the China Operations Group and the Asia, Oceania & Middle East Operations Group. Further up the rungs, he became an Executive Vice President and a Representative Director, where he was responsible for IT & ITS, quality, product management, purchasing, Japan and overseas sales, and overseas operations in 2005. Ultimately, Toyoda became President of Toyota Motor Corporation in 2009, a position he will hold until the end of the year’s first quarter.
Come April 1, 2023, the changes in leadership will take effect. Uchiyamada will remain a member of the Board of Directors, Toyoda will take his place at the top, and Sato will have very large shoes to fill, especially after all the success that Toyoda and Toyota have continued to bring to their faithful followers.
But that aside, good cheer and congratulations are in order. Most importantly, we wish the best of luck to them all!