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Akio Toyoda Steps Down As Toyota’s Boss After 14 Years At The Helm



Toyota’s longtime president and CEO Akio Toyoda is stepping down after 14 years in charge and is handing over the reins of the world’s largest automaker to Lexus chief Koji Sato. Akio is also the grandson of Toyota founder Sakichi Toyoda.

The Japanese company announced the shakeup Thursday, saying that Toyoda would be appointed chairman of the board as Sato takes over the daily management. Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s current chairman, will resign from his post but remain on the board, the company said. The changes are set to take effect on April 1.

“I thought the best way to further Toyota’s transformation would be for me to become chairman in support of a new president, and this has led to today’s decision. Chairman Uchiyamada has long supported me in all imaginable ways,” Toyoda said in a translated webcast.

“In retrospect, these 13 years have been a period of struggling to survive one day after the next, and that is my honest feeling,” he added.

The regime change comes as Toyota is being scrutinized for lagging in the electric vehicle race. Unlike other automakers that are going all-in on EVs, Toyota has previously said it’s still not convinced that’s the best path forward.

Toyoda oversaw Toyota’s rise to become the world’s biggest automaker, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing. The occasional racer also had to deal with a global recession, some embarrassingly large-scale recalls, and more recently, the semiconductor crisis that limited the company’s production ambitions.

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