Honda F1 website

FEBRUARY 10, 2005

Toyota names a new president

The Toyota Motor Corporation has named a new president but it is not thought it will have any effect at all on the company's strategy in Formula 1. The new president is 62-year-old Katsuaki Watanabe, who was previously executive vice-president in charge of business development. Watanabe replaces Fujio Cho (68). Cho will now become vice chairman of the company while his predecessor as president Hiroshi Okuda, who is now 72, will remain as chairman of the company. The decision to go into Formula 1 was made in 1999 when Okuda was president but a few months later he was elevated to the role of chairman and Cho took over. The decision was therefore not linked to one particular executive and was decided in a collective fashion (as tends to be the case in Japan) as being the most effective way for Toyota to promote its global expansion. Under Cho the company has become the the world's second biggest car manufacturer, overtaking the Ford company. Cho and Okuda will continue to exercise considerable influence in the future.

It is worth noting that prior to Okuda becoming chairman that job was held by Shoichiro Toyoda. His son Akio has now been named as an executive vice president and, at the age of only 48, must be seen as a man likely to become president in the future.