Toyota diversifies top executive ranks

Wed Mar 4, 2015 3:38am EST
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By Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) on Wednesday promoted more foreigners to senior posts, including the first woman and first African-American to hold executive titles, diversifying a management team long dominated by Japanese men.

The world's biggest automaker appointed Europe chief Didier Leroy to become one of six executive vice presidents (EVP) effective after the company's annual shareholders' meeting in June. He would be the first foreigner to become a Toyota EVP, the highest post to be held by a non-Japanese.

Toyota also named Julie Hamp, a senior official at Toyota Motor North America, as a managing officer, making the American the company's first female executive. Christopher Reynolds, an African-American general counsel in North America, will also become a managing officer.

Hamp's promotion marks a step in Japan's drive to narrow the gender gap in the workplace. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called on corporate Japan to appoint women to 30 percent of top jobs by 2020 - a target widely seen as unattainable and opposed by the country's biggest business lobby.

Women currently account for 11 percent of mid-to-senior level management in Japan and 1 percent of executive committee members, according to researcher McKinsey.


Toyota has stood out for having few foreign executives - particularly compared with Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote), led by Frenchman Carlos Ghosn - given that its home market makes up less than a fifth of its global sales.   Continued...

People take pictures of Toyota Mirai car ahead of the 85th International Motor Show in Geneva, March 2, 2015.             REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann