Katsuaki Watanabe, currently in charge of Toyota Motor Corporation’s procurement and business development division, will replace Fujio Cho at the helm of the Japanese multinational.

Katsuaki Watanabe, currently in charge of Toyota Motor Corporation’s procurement and business development division, will replace Fujio Cho at the helm of the Japanese multinational.


also reported on Wednesday that Akio Toyoda, the son of former Toyota president Shoichiro Toyoda and the grandson of the company's founder, was appointed executive vice president - in a move that positions him as a top candidate for future Toyota president.


Cho, who was named president in 1999, will now become TMC’s vice chairman and Hiroshi Okuda will stay on as chairman, the company said in a statement.


Shinji Kitayama, automotive analyst at Shinko Securities in Tokyo, said that the promotion of a member of the Toyoda family had symbolic significance that could raise morale.


Akio Toyoda, 48, who became a board member in June 2000 and serves as senior managing director, also symbolises Toyota's shift toward younger management. He has headed Toyota's Chinese operations, its Internet business and served as vice president at New United Motor Manufacturing.


Okuda reportedly said the management shifts were meant to introduce change and promote younger managers at a time when Toyota needs to respond nimbly to regional needs - the average age of vice presidents will go down from nearly 64 to below 58.


"A company must change when things are going well. There's no point in trying to change after things start going bad," he said.


quoted Watanabe, who has supervised work in production control since the 1990s, as saying the biggest risk for Toyota is “that it may grow arrogant and inflexible with size”.


"I want to make the world's best car at the cheapest price and the fastest speed in the world," Watanabe said. "Everywhere I've worked, I've tried to build a good team."


Wednesday's appointments will become final after shareholders' approval in June, the report said.