His promotion is part of a reshuffling of the executive ranks at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.
Denny Clements, 60, general manager of Lexus Division, is retiring. He will be replaced by Bob Carter, previously vice president of sales for Toyota Division.
Esmond, 61, also takes command of Toyota's Mexican and Puerto Rican operations, Toyota Logistics Services, and Toyota's Central Atlantic distributorship. He keeps the title of senior vice president.
A 23-year Toyota veteran, Esmond had been in charge of Toyota Division since 1998.
Taking Esmond's place in charge of Toyota Division will be fast-tracker Jim Lentz. Lentz, 49, has been group vice president of marketing for Toyota since late 2002.
Before that, he was the vice president of the Scion youth brand at its inception. Lentz, too, has been with Toyota for 23 years.
Jim Press, COO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., will keep his title. However, with Esmond's expanded duties, Press will concentrate more on his role as a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan.
He will be more involved in Toyota's global strategic issues and how the American market fits into them. The now-global reach of the Lexus brand will be a key issue. Press already spends two weeks a month in Japan.
While Press still will be closely involved in North American strategy, he will leave implementation to Esmond and his lieutenants.
Since Clements' assumed leadership of Lexus in 2000, every year has been marked by record sales. The marque also has been the best-selling luxury brand in the United States every year during that time.
Carter, 45, the new Lexus chief, has been with Toyota Motor for 24 years. He has Lexus experience, having been vice president of sales and dealer development before his current post.
Clements officially retires on June 1, but Carter's promotion takes effect immediately. Clements will stay on as a consultant.
You may e-mail Mark Rechtin at [email protected]