Toyota President Ken Watanabe Expected To Step Down In 2009

Illustration for article titled Toyota President Ken Watanabe Expected To Step Down In 2009

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Toyota President Katsuaki "Ken" Watanabe will step down from his post in 2009. We're betting it may be early considering Watanabe turned down his Detroit Auto Show invite.


The CEO of Toyota Motor Company has been at the helm during its rise to market dominance but with yesterdays announcement of a $1.7 billion annual loss, Toyota may be set for a changing of the guard. WSJ goes on to posit that Akio Toyoda, an executive vice president at Toyota and grandson of Toyota's founder Kiichiro Toyoda, will step up to the plate and take over as President. We'll shy away from the easy joke of executive seppuku, since it cannot be argued that Watanabe has served honorably during his lengthy career with Toyota and in his Presidency of the automotive goliath since 2001.The guy is 66, maybe it's just time to retire. [Wall Street Journal]

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Y'know, didn't Toyota really start to head downhill around 2001? Killing the Celica and MR2, bloating and uglifying the Corolla and Camry, launching giant SUVs while lambasting Detroit for doing the same... Just thinking aloud here.