Akio Toyoda: The Face of the World’s Largest Automaker
While Toyota president Akio Toyoda’s name might sound to fans of Harry Potter like a wizard is summoning a fourth-generation Toyota Prius, Mr. Toyoda is actually just an everyday Muggle trying to run a business. Toyoda (note the spelling difference from Toyota) has served as the brand’s fearless leader since June of 2009 but has been with the company for more than 30 years.
Toyoda was born on May 3, 1956. He studied law at Keio University, graduating in 1979. He then pursued his master’s in business administration here in the United States at Babson College in 1982. It was no surprise when he joined the Toyota team in April of 1984.
Since joining Toyota, Toyoda has worked his way through the entire automotive spectrum. He has spent time in marketing, product development, and production. While he calls Japan his home country and has spent many years working there, he has also served in some posts internationally, including California.
It wasn’t until June of 2000 that Toyoda finally made it to the big leagues, named to the company’s Board of Directors. From there, he found even more success, first as chief officer of the Asia & China Operations Center, then managing director, and eventually as senior managing director. In 2005, Toyoda took on a number of new titles, including chief officer of the China Operations Group, chief officer of the Asia, Oceania & Middle East Operations Group, and executive vice president and representative director.
In 2009, Mr. Toyoda finally assumed the role of president of Toyota Motor Corporation, where he has seen a great number of successes. Most recently, Akio Toyoda was named CEO of the Year in Japan, beating out Tim Cook of Apple.
Toyota continues to be the largest automaker on the planet. Under Toyoda’s direction (and given Volkswagen’s recent setbacks), that is not likely to change any time soon.
Timothy Moore takes his leadership inspiration from Michael Scott, his writing inspiration from Mark Twain, and his dancing inspiration from every drunk white guy at a wedding. When Tim is not writing about cars, he’s working on his novel or reading someone else’s, geeking out over strategy board games, hiking with his pooch, or channeling his inner Linda Belcher over beers with his friends. See more articles by Timothy.