Toyota Names Katsuaki Watanabe As New President

February 08, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Toyota Motor Corp. (Nagoya, Japan) announced that Katsuaki Watanabe, who oversees procurement and business development, was named to replace Fujio Cho as the new President. Toyota also appointed as Executive Vice President Akio Toyoda, the son of former Toyota President Shoichiro Toyoda, and the grandson of the company's founder, in a move that positions him as a top candidate for future Toyota president.

Cho, who became president in 1999, oversaw Toyota's growth not only in the key North American market, but also in Europe and China. He will be promoted to vice chairman, and Hiroshi Okuda will stay on as chairman. Cho and Okuda are expected to continue to wield considerable influence over the direction of the automaker, and so the management changes aren't expected to result in major policy shifts. Cho will replace Okuda as chairman next year.