Electric challenge for Toyota’s future boss

Electric challenge for Toyota’s future boss
Toyota Motor Corp. boss Akio Toyoda (left) and his successor Koji Sato testing the first Lexus RZ electric vehicle model in Japan. KYODO/REUTERS

Akio Toyoda will give up his seat on April 1. He did not bet on electrification.

In Tokyo

Akio Toyoda lets go of the steering wheel. After fourteen years as CEO of

Toyota, the grandson of the founder of the eponymous group, sixth of the name at the head of the largest car manufacturer in the world, announced Thursday that it would give way to the 1is April to take the influential but more honorary title of President. He will be replaced by the “young” Koji Sato, 53, Chief Branding Officer and President of Lexus International.

Passionate about car racing, which he practices despite the fear of his shareholders and his collaborators, Akio Toyoda will have had his share of driving in heavy weather. Eleventh president of the group, he resumed in 2009 the thread of family management, interrupted fourteen years earlier. That “restoration” was not unanimous. “For many people, I was not welcome”, he recalled Thursday. But events would give him the opportunity to prove his worth.

That year, the manufacturer, hit by the financial crisis, suffered the first…

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