Akio Toyoda to become Toyota Chairman

Akio Toyoda, new Toyota Motor Corporation chairman of the board. (Photo by Noriaki Mitsuhashi, N-RAK Photo Agency)

Koji Sato appointed as new president and CEO

The man behind Gazoo Racing (GR Performance) and the return of such iconic models as the FJ Cruiser, GR Supra, and GR Yaris will no longer be the president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation.

Akio Toyoda has stepped down from his role as president and CEO but will ascend to be the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company, effective April 1, 2023. Toyoda succeeds Takeshi Uchiyamada, who has stepped down as chairman but will remain a member of the board.

Toyota GR Supra

Under his tenure, Toyoda has been instrumental in bringing back the waku-doki (heart-racing fun) feeling back to the Toyota brand. He pushed for new models that alluded to Toyota’s heritage while also bringing excitement back to its lineup.

He was a member of Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s racing team and personally raced under the pseudonym ‘Morizo.’ Gazoo Racing’s success in motorsports led to its integration into Toyota as the new performance brand, as well as the launch of performance models like the GR Supra, GR 86, and GR Yaris.

When he first took office, Toyoda strived to turn Toyota vehicles into everyone’s “Aisha,” a Japanese word meaning ‘favorite car.’

“As a result of the 370,000 members of Toyota striving in their various roles in each town around the world to make ever-better cars, our products have been greatly transformed.

“We have revamped long-time bestsellers such as the Crown and Corolla, and we have brought back sports cars in the form of the 86, Supra, and GR Yaris. At the same time, we have also paid attention to our commercial vehicles…

Koji Sato, incoming Toyota president and CEO. (Photo by Noriaki Mitsuhashi, N-RAK Photo Agency)

“I hope that the Toyota Philosophy will serve as a place to which the next generation of top management can return, should it ever lose its way.

Succeeding Toyoda as president and CEO will be 53-year-old Koji Sato, who is currently the Operating Officer, Chief Branding Officer as well as president of Lexus International and the Gazoo Racing company.

“I hope to preserve the essential value of the car and propose new forms of mobility.

“Our new team, under the theme of “inheritance and evolution”, will implement product-centered and region-centered management, while valuing the philosophy of our company’s founding and will endeavor to fully redesign Toyota into a mobility company.

Sato hopes to continue Toyota’s efforts to provide not just cars but also mobility, as well as continue the company’s shift towards electrification.