June 24th, 2010
07:16 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Toyota Motor Corp. is moving aside Japanese managers in Europe and North America in favor of local managers.

The move comes in the aftermath of Toyota’s recall saga earlier this year, when millions of cars around the world were pulled due to a variety of problems ranging from faulty brakes to issues with stuck accelerators. The Thursday announcement coincided with Toyota President Akio Toyoda’s first meeting with shareholders since the recalls.

The company was widely criticized for not being able to effectively communicate the separate problems which were cropping up in North America and Europe. Toyoda promised to give regional markets more of a voice in global operations.

“The aim is to put in place management structures capable of more rapidly and accurately grasping local conditions and identifying local needs,” a statement released Thursday said. “Taking both a medium- and long-term view, (Toyota) has long fostered local personnel in overseas markets.”

Here’s how the shake-up looks:

Toyota Motor Europe:President Didier Leroy (formerly Tadashi Arashima)

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc.: President Chris Nielsen  (formerly Kenji Fukuta)

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc.: President Norm Bafunno (formerly Kazumori Oi)

Europe Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey Inc.: President Orhan Ozer (formerly Tamer Unlu)

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland: President Carl Klemm (formerly Kenji Manabe)

At Toyota Motor Manufacturing operations in Kentucky and Canada, the current presidents (Steve St.Angelo and Real C. Tanguay, respectively) were promoted to newly created positions of chairmen, and Wil James and Brian Krinock were named new presidents.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. j.silzer

    It's unfortunate that it took a situation like this for Japanese companies to start realizing that placing older inept executives in charge of overseas affiliates is neither efficient or productive for business. I've seen this over and over and there is even a Japanese term referred to this practice.

    I hope other companies start adopting this policy (nudges Hitachi), and believe this is a new start for the company that will pay dividends...

    June 24, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  2. Ding Kuan Siang

    Such a move has a far reaching impact. It may mark the beginnings of the change of business practices not just for Toyota, but for the business practice of Japanese companies. It is history in the making.

    June 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  3. louis

    only when it hurts income that most companies do something. its all about the money first unfortunately...

    June 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  4. Iqbal AZIM

    There is a long way to go on localizing and decentralizing the operations for such giants across the world like Toyota Motors. Companies have started realizing the benefits of making use of local expertise pool for better adoption of ‘think global, act local’.

    This move of Japanese Auto Giant would certainly set new trend amongst other similar size of companies operating worldwide.

    Productivity and efficiency indices would show better results, if more changes in organization structure in overseas operational networks would be given serious thoughts and acceptance.

    June 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  5. PRINCE2040

    I hope other global corporations learn from this Japanese novel initiative.However,the local managers in my opinion should not be given the "carte blanche" from inception to forestall reckless abuse of power and resources as happened in some countries.A parallel system should be operated for accountability.

    June 24, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  6. John

    I once worked in an American factory owned by a Japanese company. The Japanese did the strangest things sometimes. The strangest was a meeting which was held by a manager who spoke entirely in Japanese to a room full of Americans who didn't understand a word. There was one person in the room who could have interpreted, but it was considered rude for him to do so. (By definition, all highly educated Japanese managers spoke fluent English, even though they didn't!)

    However, sometimes this worked to the benefit of the factory. Whenever a badly conceived mandate was given, it could be safely ignored. If questioned as to why the mandate wasn't being followed, it was easy to claim there had been a misunderstanding because of the language barrier.

    FYI, this was the most efficient factory of all those owned by the company worldwide, including all those in Japan.

    June 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  7. henery

    There is only one reason they are changing the managment.
    This way when something goes wrong the next time they can save face and blame the Americans and or the Europeans.
    During the senate hearings they were so ashamed of their behavior,
    that they never want to have to take responsibility again.

    June 30, 2010 at 10:59 pm |

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