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2013-03-07 09:45

UPPING THE GAME: Toyota chief Akio Toyoda has reshuffled top management for the fourth time in three years in a strategic move to tackle the competition.

TOYOTA, Japan - Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda has restructured the company’s top management for the third time in four years.

According to the Detroit News, the move comes in a bid to brace against heavy competition from General Motors and Volkswagen.

Changes start with the North American operations with US sales chief James Lentz becoming CEO of North America. Lentz will be the only executive in charge of production and sales in the region.

BIG CHANGES

Toyoda (56) is also bringing outside directors to the party, among them former GM and Magna International’s Mark Hogan

Furthermore, the company will be divided into eight regions with four business units: Lexus premium car business, Toyota's mature markets (US and Japan), emerging markets business and engine and components production said the Detroit News.

Toyoda said in a statement: "These changes will help us to achieve sustainable growth and realise our global vision by giving more responsibility to each region."

NEW BLOOD

All positions, except for one top lieutenant have been changed within the past two years. According to reports, the change was brought about to groom the next generation of leaders. The company was founded by Toyoda’s grandfather, Kiichiro Toyoda, in 1937.

Tokyo’s president of Atlantis Investment Research, Edwin Merner, said: "It's been a gradual, steady process and this is just part of the change that's in his mind. It's good for Toyota."

While board nominations will have to be approved at Toyota’s annual meeting in June 2013 all other changes will take effect on April 1.

Board chairman Fujio Cho will become honorary chairman, while vice-chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada will become chairman. Several executive vice-presidents, as well as former sales and production chiefs are resigning in the US, among them Yukitoshi Funo and Atsushi Niimi.

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