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Toyota names Akio Toyoda as next president

Jan. 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM

TOKYO, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Toyota Motor Corp. of Japan said a member of the company's founding family would be its next president, giving its current president a vice-chairman post.

Akio Toyoda will take over as president in June. Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe will become vice chairman at that time, while Chairman Fujio Cho will maintain his position, Kyodo News reported Friday.

The delay in the switch was calculated to allow blame aimed at Watanabe for the company's poor performance in 2008 to dissipate, observers said.

It has been long anticipated that Toyoda, who has worked as an executive vice president since 2005, would eventually take over the president's post.

The most recent family member to serve as Toyota's president was Tatsuro Toyoda, who retired in 1995, due to illness.

Toyota announced in December that the fiscal year ending March 2009 would be its first ever with the bottom line recorded in red ink.

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