Women conspicuously absent from new Toyota CEO’s top team

Close to a fifth of companies listed on Tokyo’s top exchange are led by all men

Toyota’s incoming chief executive Koji Sato called his new management team a “diverse line-up” in terms of communication styles when explaining the carmaker’s strategy toward an electrified future.

It wasn’t so diverse in other ways. All seven of his top deputies are men.

The lack of woman executives at the top of a Japanese business isn’t new. Of the companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Prime bourse, 19 per cent don’t have any women at an executive level, according to the government’s cabinet office.

At Toyota, the world’s No. 1 carmaker, only one of the nine current board members is a woman – Teiko Kudo. She’ll stay on when the new directors, none of whom are woman, come on board after shareholder approval later this year.


Sato’s two top deputies are now Hiroki Nakajima, who becomes chief technology officer, and Yoichi Miyazaki, who will be chief financial officer – both men.

Toyota does at least have a woman executive in Yumi Otsuka, who is chief sustainability officer. She’s being appointed as a senior fellow from an operating officer position, according to Monday’s announcement.

Among Japan’s automakers, Nissan’s executive vice-president Asako Hoshino stands out as the most senior-ranked women within the industry.

While Toyota is spending 4 trillion yen (€28 billion) to roll out 30 electric vehicle models by 2030, its strategy of offering multiple options for car buyers – gasoline engines, hybrids, battery-based EVs and hydrogen-powered cars – has led to criticism it isn’t shifting fast enough.

Sato said he’d seek to change that. – Bloomberg