Toyota names 'Mr. Prius' vice chairman
Uchiyamada will have advisory role.
TOKYO -- Takeshi Uchiyamada, the Toyota executive who revamped the company's manufacturing and r&d processes during the financial, recall and natural disaster crises of the past three years, is being promoted to vice chairman.
The move is part of a management shuffle effective June 15, pending approval at Toyota's general shareholders' meeting.
Uchiyamada, 65, oversees global product development as one of the company's five executive vice presidents.
He also is the brains behind the company's so-called Toyota New Global Architecture, a fresh development strategy unveiled this year.
Before that, the 43-year Toyota veteran played a key role in overhauling the automaker's product planning approach to address weaknesses uncovered by Toyota's 2009-10 recall fiasco.
Uchiyamada is revered internally as "Mr. Prius" for his work as chief engineer of the first-generation gasoline-electric hybrid.
Today, the Prius is the best-selling hybrid in the world and the best-selling car -- period -- in Japan.
As vice chairman, he will play an advisory role, remaining on the board below Chairman Fujio Cho, a former Toyota president.
Filling Uchiyamada's shoes as r&d czar will be Mitsuhisa Kato, a newly appointed executive vice president on the board for the first time. Kato, 59, joined Toyota in 1975 and recently helped lead customer service at Toyota's r&d group.
Under this year's management change, President Akio Toyoda is adding two executive vice presidents to his inner circle of top brass, bringing the total number to seven.
You can reach Hans Greimel at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Hans on