Toyota Taps Younger Generation With New CFO

Kenta Kon, 51, is part of a younger group of Toyota executives from which President Akio Toyoda may be grooming his successor.
Matthew HellerMarch 4, 2020

Kenta Kon

Toyota Motor Corp. has named Kenta Kon as its next CFO as part of a management reorganization aimed at making the company more nimble amid sweeping changes in the auto industry.

Kon, 51, will add the CFO duties to his existing portfolio as chief officer of Toyota’s accounting group. He will replace Koji Kobayashi, who is staying on as chief risk officer after two years in the CFO position.

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Toyota announced Kon’s promotion to its No. 2 position as it also designated him, Kobayashi and four others as chief operating officers, eliminating what had previously been executive vice president positions.

“I have judged that it is necessary for me to directly communicate with the leaders of the next generation and to increase the amount of time for sharing our concerns, by further reducing the number of layers of management,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said in a news release.

“For the next generation, I believe that what I must do more than anything else is to restore the inherent characteristics of Toyota,” he added.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, Toyoda, now in his 11th year as president, “likely wants to cultivate leaders in [the younger] age group as part of a hunt for his eventual successor.” Like Kon, another of the incoming COOs, Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda, is 51.

“Toyoda is adamant [about] reforming the corporate culture before he leaves,” Nikkei Asian Review noted.

Kon, who joined Toyota in 1991, became an executive vice president in January 2019 and chief of the accounting group the following July. The other incoming COOs include Mitsuru Kawai (chief human resources officer), Shigeki Terashi (chief competitive officer), and Shigeki Tomoyama (chief information and security officer).

Toyota has been “trying to simplify its operations to become more nimble to compete with rivals in developing electric vehicles, self-driving cars and other new technologies,” Reuters said.

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