Toyota Motor appointed its new president Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder, on Tuesday during one of the most challenging economic environments in the automaker's history.
Toyoda who is currently the company's executive vice president will replace Katsuaki Watanabe as president. The appointment was widely expected as part of a management reshuffling and is subject to shareholder's approval at a June meeting. Last family member to lead the company was his uncle, Tatsuro Toyoda, 14 years ago.
Analysts say despite the industry slump, Toyota remains a fundamentally well run company but said Toyoda will face tough decisions. He is known for his aggressive management style and it may be what the company needs as the company faces challenges of severely diminished auto demand in US, Japan and Europe.
Times have changed completely and ... it really requires very bold reform and something that is outside of the box, Mr. Watanabe said.
Koji Endo, an analyst in Tokyo at Credit Suisse Securities said the company might have turned to a member of the founding family to win additional support among employees and shareholders for what he and other analysts expect would be painful steps that Toyota must take in the coming year.
Watanabe will become vice-chairman, the company said.
Toyota shares stepped up 1.3 percent in Tokyo on hopes that the reshuffle would help Toyota's efforts to prepare itself for the slow downturn.