Toyota turns to founder’s grandson to lead company back to prominence
It’s been 14 years since Toyota Motor Corp. had a President that was linked to founder Kiichiro Toyoda and with the expected appointment of Akio Toyoda, Kiichiro’s grandson, that wait is finally over.
After being with the company for 25 years, Toyoda is finally taking over the reigns as Toyota president as a result of voting done by its shareholders on new top management positions.
It’s an unenviable task for Toyoda, who takes over the company at a time where the company is taking a major hit – it reportedly lost over $7.7 billion in the first quarter of 2009, the largest quarterly loss in the company’s history - due to the global economic crisis.
But if there was anybody that the company was willing to put its stock on to lead Toyota back into prominence, the clear-cut choice is Toyoda himself.
While some skeptics have wondered if it was a case of Toyoda taking the helm too soon, some of his supporters have backed the change, saying that it’s a different approach from how previous presidents have managed the company.
"He’s a smart guy. He’s got a Western education, and a global view," said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research.
Just like what Cole mentioned, Toyoda’s credentials speak for themselves. He graduated with an MBA Degree at Babson College in Massachusetts as well as a Law Degree from the Keio University in Tokyo.
Toyoda’s Western education – not to mention his fluency in the English language, a stark contrast from the president’s he preceded - should serve him well in dealing with the plummeting global auto industry.
"He’s not going to dictate from the top," Cole said. "He’s someone who recognizes that he doesn’t know everything."
While it’s expected that the company will continue to rack up further losses in the coming year, the new management roster, headed by Toyoda as the company’s new president, is a breath of fresh air for the distressed Japanese car giant.
How he handles his new responsibility as President is something all of us will be looking forward to. And if history is any indication, let’s all hope that Akio Toyoda has the same golden touch his grandfather had when he founded Toyota.
Source: Detroit News