After having a management team that has been long dominated by Japanese men, Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. – the world’s largest automaker – moved to diversify its top ranks by promoting more foreigners into senior positions.
The move highlights the diversity drive, with the automaker promoting its first woman and first African-American to executive posts. Additionally, the carmaker will have Europe chief Didier Leroy as on of its six executive vice presidents (EVP) after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in June. He is now the first non-Japanese national to become a Toyota EVP. Julie Hamp, a senior official at Toyota Motor North America became a managing officer, making the US-born the company’s first female executive. Additionally, Christopher Reynolds, an African-American general counsel in North America would also have a managing officer position.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called on numerous occasions on Japan Inc. to bring women into corporate positions by a ratio of 30 percent of the top jobs 2020 – though the mark is widely believed as unachievable and faces fierce opposition from the country’s biggest business lobby. According to researcher McKinsey, women only make up 11 percent of mid-to-senior level management and just one percent of executive committee members in Japan.
Toyota has always stood out of the bunch – especially when compared to the country’s second largest automaker, Nissan, led by French native Carlos Ghosn – for having mostly Japanese executives. That’s even more disconcerting given the fact that its home market only accounts for under a fifth of total deliveries each year.