In the wake of a year of crisis that saw the Japanese giant pay record fines to the U.S. government, recall 11 million vehicles and face the wrath of Congress, Toyota is reportedly planning a major shake-up in its senior management roles.
The maker to reduce the size of board of directors by nearly 40%, from 27 members to 17, according to various sources. Toyota also will make sharp cuts in the number of managing directors, executive directors and possibly other senior positions.
The move appears to be motivated by a variety of factors: first, to make the company more lean and nimble and speed up the decision-making process. Toyota paid a record $48.8 million in fines levied by U.S. regulators, last year, because of delays in responding to safety defects. Insiders blame that, at least in part, to the company’s oversized bureaucracy.
But the cuts may also be part of a strategy by Toyota President Akio Toyoda – grandson of the company founder – to purge powerful elements within the automaker’s upper ranks that had resisted his policies.