TOKYO - Akio Toyoda, the eldest son of Toyota Motor Corp. honorary chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, has moved a step closer to the highest executive ranks at Japan's largest carmaker.
As part of Toyota's traditional New Year promotions and reorganization, the 43-year-old Toyoda was named a general manager. The move makes him the youngest Toyota employee ever to reach what's known formally inside the company as Grade 1 rank. He will remain in his current post as a vice president at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., the Toyota-General Motors joint venture in Fremont, Calif.
He is the grandson of the founder of Toyota.
The New Year promotions mainly affect middle- and upper-level managers below the board of directors. However, one of this year's changes sends Toshiaki Taguchi, the senior managing director in charge of the overseas operations group, to New York, where he became president of Toyota Motor North America Inc. All changes were effective Jan. 1. Much of Akio Toyoda's career has been spent outside Japan. He received his MBA in 1983 from Boston's Babson College. Toyoda later joined a New York investment bank, which sent him to its British unit, before he applied to work at Toyota.
He has been at NUMMI since 1998, most of that time as vice president for production control and quality assurance.