Lexus Chief to Take Over Toyota as Founder’s Grandson Steps Down – LBCGroup 1/26/23


Lexus chief to take over Toyota as founder’s grandson steps down

The chief executive of Toyota Motor Corp will step down as head of the company his grandfather founded, the Japanese automaker said on Thursday, handing over to the boss of its luxury car unit as it struggles to meet the shift to electric vehicles.

Koji Sato, the automaker’s 53-year-old chief branding officer, who is also president of Toyota’s (7203.T) luxury brand Lexus, will take over as chief executive from April 1, the company said, as Akio Toyoda becomes chairman.

The current chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada will drop his chairman title but remain on the board.

The issue of who would take over from Toyoda, the 66-year-old grandson of the company’s founder, had increasingly been a focus for investors. But the timing of the succession announcement was a surprise.

Under Toyoda, the automaker has followed a go-slow approach to electric vehicles, arguing that the hybrid technology it pioneered with the Prius will remain important along with investments in hydrogen.

That approach has prompted criticism from investors and activists who once widely praised its technology and environmental record.

Toyoda said Sato’s mission would be to transform Toyota into a “mobility company,” without specifying what that strategy would entail.

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