TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. is in talks with former General Motors executive and Magna International President Mark Hogan about coming on board as an adviser.
Hogan, 59, would be a consultant on a range of topics, not necessarily the safety issues that triggered this year's string of recalls at Toyota, said a person familiar with the discussions.
Toyota spokeswoman Mira Sleilati confirmed the automaker is talking with Hogan about working in an "advisory capacity." Details have not been decided, she said.
Hogan, who directed inquiries to Toyota, spent more than three decades at GM before becoming Magna's president in 2004. He left the Canadian supplier in 2007.
At GM, Hogan helped plan and manage the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. joint venture factory with Toyota in Fremont, Calif. His involvement there helped him develop a diplomatic knack for bridging the automotive cultures of Detroit and Toyota City. More important, it exposed him to two key players.
The first is Akio Toyoda, who worked at NUMMI on his climb to the presidency of Toyota. The other is Steve St. Angelo, who also worked at NUMMI as a GM vice president before leaving GM to join Toyota in 2005.
Today St. Angelo is executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. He was also picked to lead the North American task force charged with improving Toyota's blemished quality and safety record.
Hogan's appointment would be an extension of Toyota's practice of turning to outside voices for fresh critiques of the company's practices, Sleilati said. She pointed to other third-party panels that advise the company on diversity and improving quality in the wake of the recent recalls.