The boss of the world’s largest car company says he’s ushering in the next generation of leaders.
Akio Toyoda, grandson of Toyota’s founder and the second longest-serving president of the world’s top carmaker, is preparing the company for his retirement.
Toyoda is credited with taking Toyota to new and highly profitable heights since his appointment in 2009, but has told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting this week he is fostering the next-generation of leaders to take his place.
According to business news outlet Bloomberg, the 66-year-old CEO told the audience anyone who follows in his footsteps must have an “unshakable conviction on why Toyota exists”.
In March, the company appointed three senior C-suite officers to the level of executive vice president, leading to speculation the men are being groomed to take over for Toyoda when the time is right.
Chief Financial Officer Kenta Kon, Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda, and Chief Human Resources Officer Masanori Kuwata are all said to be candidates for the top job when the time comes.
Toyoda entered the family business in 1984, before joining Toyota’s board of directors in 2000. He was promoted to executive vice president in 2005, some four years before being appointed as president and CEO.
In recent years, it’s understood Toyoda has sought to rejuvenate the management at Toyota, with reports he has been actively spending more time with younger executives.
Koji Kobayashi, one of the company’s top executives who spoke at the meeting, told shareholders Toyoda was “energised,” despite leading the company through multiple crises, and is “[planting] seeds for the future, with three young executive vice presidents and other executives”.
Toyoda has become a beloved figure at Toyota, and is said to be largely responsible for a performance renaissance at the company in recent years with the introduction of the GR Yaris and GR Corolla – the latter of which has a ‘Morizo Edition’, named after Toyoda’s racing driver pseudonym.
Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the area of classic car investment.