Toyota expands role of key North American execs

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Ogawa, left, and Reynolds.

Toyota Motor Corp., focused on accelerating planning and decision making in North America, expands the responsibilities of several top managers in the region.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has announced plans to remove management layers in the automaker on Friday to create a flatter, more diverse workforce to meet the challenges of the ever-evolving automotive industry.

"The revisions of our organizational structure are designed by reducing the number of structural layers, to enable rebirth in a Toyota that is able to draw conclusions faster, make quick decisions and take action faster than ever before," Toyoda said. "The goal is that they go straight to where the action takes place and realize their vision."

Tetsuo Ogawa has been appointed COO for Toyota North America and adds responsibility for the company's global communications and government affairs. Ogawa is currently a senior managing officer for Toyota Motor Corp. and also executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Toyota North America.

Chris Reynolds, Executive Vice President Corporate Resources and Chief Diversity Officer, is Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Toyota Motor North America, overseeing all corporate functions: personnel, legal affairs, finance, communications, and so on. as North American production.

"Reynolds, for example, will now further integrate and strengthen the production side, which will further integrate us like a Toyota," said Scott Vazin, chief communications officer for Toyota Motor North America. "Small adjustments like this will grow and strengthen the bank."

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Hicks, left and Isono.

Zack Hicks takes on more responsibilities than North America in his role as head of Toyota Connected, the mobility arm of the automaker. He will continue as a "double hatter" as Chief Digital Officer for Toyota North America, said Vazin.

Tadahisa Isono, executive vice president for production, has been appointed head of manufacturing technology in North America.

Toyota's North American operations are under pressure to generate more profits to support the parent company's investments in advanced R & D. Vazin said that the changes will give drivers more autonomy, allowing them to make decisions about how they can best serve customers.

"Looking ahead, we will have a stronger bank and responsibilities at the senior level to lead production and engineering," said Vazin. "The overall goal is to bridge from automaker to mobility company, which will give Toyota leverage to plan the future for mobility." The changes in TMNA ​​give us more autonomy for the region. "

The management changes take effect on 1 January.

Hans Greimel and Krishnan M. Anantharaman have contributed to this report.