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Third-Generation Toyota CEO to Step Down in April

FILE - Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda at the Tokyo Auto Salon on Jan. 13, 2023, in Chiba near Tokyo. Toyoda announced Thursday that he will step down from his position and transition to be chairman of the board on April 1. Toyota's chief branding officer, Koji Sato, will replace him.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda announced Thursday during a webcast that he will step down from his position and transition to chairman of the board on April 1. Replacing him is 53-year-old Koji Sato, the current chief branding officer.

The grandson of the founder of the company, Toyoda has been CEO since 2009. He says he faced “crisis after crisis” when he took over, including the global recession, the catastrophic 2011 earthquake in Japan, and a recall scandal that prompted him to apologize before the United States Congress. He is expected to remain heavily involved during the initial transition period and beyond.

Toyota has faced some criticism over the years for being slow on the shift to electric cars amid growing concern about climate change. During the webcast, the company discussed its plans to stay on top of social changes and the environmental landscape.

Sato “has worked hard in the workplaces of car-making to embrace Toyota’s philosophy, techniques, and practices. Those are exactly the traits I would want whoever stands at the top of Toyota to embody,” Toyoda said.

“I am going to give it my all,” Sato said. “The new team will lead the shift in the transition to a mobility company to provide the freedom of mobility to all people.”

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.