Iconic Japanese business Toyota Motor Corp has announced that Akio Toyoda (pictured), the great-grandson of the company's founder, has been promoted to chairman of the board of directors for Toyota Motor Europe. Toyoda, 52, will assume his new position on 1 July in a move that is widely seen as the next step on his road to the company presidency.
Toyoda first joined Toyota in 1984 and served as a VP at Toyota's joint venture with General Motors before joining the company's main board of directors in 2000. In 2003, he assumed the position of senior managing director before being promoted to executive vice-president in 2005.
Toyoda's great-grandfather was Sakichi Toyoda, the man who is credited with starting the Toyota dynasty when he founded Toyoda Automatic Loom Works in 1926. In the 1930s he sold the patents for his design of an advanced automatic loom in order to fund his son Kiichiro's venture into car making.
The family's power was consolidated in 1981 when Kiichiro's son Shoichiro became president of motor sales, joining Kiichiro's cousin Eiji Toyoda, chairman of Toyota. Today, Shoichiro is honourary chairman.
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