Toyota Motor Corp. will promote Akio Toyoda to executive vice president from senior managing director.
The move is part of a reshuffling at the automaker that is seen as an attempt to groom Toyoda, 48, grandson of the company’s founder, to become president, along with a supporting cast that will run the company for the next 10 to 15 years.
Purchasing expert Katsuaki Watanabe, 63, will lead the new regime. Now an executive vice president, he will become Toyota’s next president, succeeding Fujio Cho, 68. The changes take effect in June.
Analysts expect Wata-nabe to be Toyota’s president for between three and five years. “He will serve until the right time to pass the leadership to Akio” Toyoda, says Takaki Nakanishi, auto analyst at UBS Securities Japan.