2019 ALL STAR | GLOBAL EXECUTIVE
President of business planning and operation, chief competitive officer, chairman of Toyota Motor Europe,
Toyota Motor Corp.
As Toyota’s chief competitive officer, Didier Leroy has kept a laser focus on his mission.
Toyota Motor Corp. booked a whopping $21.66 billion full-year operating profit last year, even as earnings took a tumble at the carmaker’s main Japanese rivals. Japan’s biggest automaker did it the old-fashioned way: through cost control and competitive product.
Leroy, who also heads business planning and operation, made sure Toyota was a lean, mean earnings machine as the global industry hit strong headwinds and the U.S. market softened.
Operating profit margin stood at an enviable 9.2 percent in the first half of fiscal 2020.
The 61-year-old French engineer, who is the first non-Japanese executive vice president at Toyota, sits on the board and directed many of the incremental efficiencies that delivered the continuous improvement. Zoom out, and Leroy is also positioning Toyota to tackle the new era of industry upheaval, unleashed by the onslaught of electrification, autonomous driving and connectivity.
Besides forging partnerships with a slew of high-tech startups, Toyota is tightening ranks with friends. Over the past year, it exchanged equity stakes with Suzuki Motor Corp. and expanded its holdings in Subaru Corp. while accepting its first reciprocal share from the smaller partner.
All the while, Toyota is investing in plant upgrades from San Antonio to Sao Paulo.
That $22 billion profit cushion keeps Toyota competitive.
And Leroy helps invest it wisely.