By Jeff Gilbert

TOKYO — (WWJ) Toyota is moving a number of executives around, as the company works to de-centralize authority, and speed up its decision making process.

In particular, Toyota is transferring more authority over its important North America operations to executives who work in this area, naming Jim Lentz to the new post of CEO of the North American Region.

Interview: Jeff Gilbert talks with AutoPacific Analyst Dave Sullivan

“Integrating Toyota’s North America affiliates under a more unified and streamlined management structure will significantly enhance local responsibility over operations, clarify decision-making and strengthen our ‘customer-first’ focus,” said Lentz. “Backed by decades of industry experience, this leadership team represents a deep bench of talent that is well prepared to capitalize fully on the strong momentum across our North and South America operations as we enter a new phase of growth.”

Toyota also added former GM executive Mark Hogan to its board of directors. Two Japanese businessmen—involved in non-automotive pursuits—also joined the board.

“These changes will help us to achieve sustainable growth and realize our Global Vision by giving more responsibility to each region, including our North and South American operations, so that they may develop and deliver ever better products and offer the best service to our customers,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.

The moves had been brewing for a long time, in the wake of Toyota’s 2010 recall problems, and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

“After they made a full recovery from the earthquake a few years ago, they are really trying to give full autonomy to each region,” said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific.
Sullivan said this will make Toyota an even stronger competitor.

“It’s gonna give Toyota the ability to react faster in the future, kinda change some of the purchasing habits that they have internally, and react faster to what the customer wants in the end.”

A statement from Toyota highlighted the exact changes:

James (Jim) Lentz, currently president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), senior vice president of Toyota Motor North America (TMA) and managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), is named senior managing officer of TMC, chief executive officer North America Region, and president and chief operating officer of TMA. In this new role, Mr. Lentz will oversee all of Toyota’s North America affiliates, including TMS, TMA and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, North America, Inc. (TEMA), which includes responsibilities for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (TMMC), and will have new oversight for Toyota Canada, Incorporated (TCI). Mr. Lentz will also become chairman of the North American Executive Committee, which will consist of cross-affiliate leaders. He will report to Satoshi Ozawa and Mitsuhisa Kato, executive vice presidents and members of the Board, TMC.

Kazuo Ohara, managing officer, TMC and executive vice president, Lexus International, will become chief executive officer and president of TMS, with responsibility for Toyota’s North America sales, service and marketing operations, reporting to Mr. Lentz.

Osamu (“Simon”) Nagata, deputy chief officer, External Affairs group, and managing officer, TMC, is named chief executive officer and president of TEMA, where he will lead Toyota’s North American manufacturing and engineering operations, also reporting to Mr. Lentz.

Steve St. Angelo, having served Toyota North America as executive vice president, TEMA, and senior vice president of TMA, is named chief executive officer, Latin America and Caribbean Region. He remains a managing officer of TMC. Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mr. St. Angelo will be chairman of Toyota do Brazil and will oversee all of Toyota’s Latin America and Caribbean affiliates. He will report to Mitsuhisa Kato and Yasumori Ihara, executive vice presidents and members of the board, TMC.

Mark S. Templin, group vice president and general manager – Lexus Division, TMS, and general manager, Lexus Product Marketing Planning Division, TMC, is named managing officer and executive vice presidentof Lexus International, where he will lead Lexus global operations from Toyota City, Japan. With this appointment, Mr. Templin becomes the first non-Japanese executive to oversee a Toyota division within the company’s global headquarters in Japan. In this new role, he will report to Kiyotaka Ise, senior managing officer and president of Lexus International.

Réal (“Ray”) Tanguay, chairman, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (TMMC), North American chief quality officer and senior managing officer of TMC, will be named advisor, TMC and chairman, TCI. He remains chairman of TMMC and president of Canadian Autoparts Toyota, Inc. (CAPTIN), which are overseen by TEMA. Given Mr. Tanguay’s enhanced focus on growing the Canadian market and overall coordination of Canadian operations, the role of chief quality officer will be re-assigned at a later date.

Robert (Bob) S. Carter, senior vice president – automotive operations, TMS, will have added responsibility for the Lexus Division, aligning sales, service, marketing, customer initiatives, vehicle distribution and parts operations for Toyota, Lexus and Scion under one executive. He will report to Mr. Ohara.

Jeffrey (Jeff) Bracken, vice president, sales, Toyota Division, is named group vice president and general manager – Lexus Division, TMS, reporting to Mr. Carter. Mr. Bracken will be responsible for all sales, marketing, customer service and dealer operations for Lexus in the U.S.

Yoshimi (Yoshi) Inaba, chairman of TMS, is named executive chairman of TMS. He remains executive advisor to TMC.

Mark Hogan, president of Dewey Investments LLC, is appointed as one of three new outside board members of TMC. Mr. Hogan is the first American to be named as an outside board member of the company.

Shigeki Terashi, managing officer, TMC, president and COO, TMA and president and CEO, TEMA, is named senior managing officer, TMC, where he will be chief officer, Corporate Planning Division and chief officer, Product and Business Planning Division.

Kazuhiro Miyauchi, managing officer, TMC, senior vice president, TMA, and executive vice president – Purchasing and Supplier Engineering Development, TEMA, will become chief officer, Production Control Group, TMC.

Hiroyuki Fukui, senior vice president and chief coordinating officer, TMS, is named managing officer, TMC, and named chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (TMMIN).

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE