TOKYO -- Akio Toyoda, scion of Toyota Motor Corp.s founding family and now its next president, will bring an international perspective to the automaker as it battles falling sales and an unprecedented financial crisis.
Toyoda, 52, will succeed current President Katsuaki Watanabe in June, the company said today, ending weeks of speculation. Local media have touted him as an anointed prince riding to the rescue of a Japanese corporate icon.
He will inject an international mindset into a company whose overseas operations, including Europe and the United States, now account for most of its sales and are contributing to the first operating loss in 70 years.
I think there will be an increased sense of urgency, Chris Richter, an auto analyst at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. There are so many challenges right now.
Indeed, todays Toyota would be unrecognizable to Akios grandfather Kiichiro, who founded the automaker in 1937, or his father, Shoichiro, himself a president from 1981 to 1992.