24 Jun 2009

Founder's grandson to lead Toyota

6:31 am on 24 June 2009

Toyota has appointed the grandson of the company's founder as its new president.

Akio Toyoda, 53, will lead a new management team that includes four new executive vice presidents as Toyota faces a continuing slump in sales.

Last month, Toyota reported the biggest annual loss in its history, and it has already warned of worse for this year.

For the year to 31 March, it made a net loss of 437 billion yen ($US4.6 billion). The loss was its first since 1963.

Outgoing president Katsuaki Watanabe will remain on the board, taking up the position of vice chairman.

Toyota was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937. He chose the name Toyota for the business rather than his surname, because Toyota was considered luckier when written in Japanese.