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HomeTRENDING NEWSAkio Toyoda, Toyota’s Chairman, Defends His Hands-On Role

Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s Chairman, Defends His Hands-On Role

Akio Toyoda, who stepped down as chief executive last year, had been criticized by some shareholders for continuing to dominate decision making at the automaker.

Toyota Motor’s longtime leader, Akio Toyoda, defended his continued deep involvement in the company’s operations on Tuesday, responding to calls by some big investors that he step back after having resigned as chief executive more than a year ago.

“Some infer that what I do and how I act is akin to cloistered rule,” Mr. Toyoda said, referring to an imperial form of government in Japan where an emperor could retain power and influence even after abdication.

“I consult with younger-generation executives and give them my advice, and if you call this cloistered rule, then I am happy to continue acting as a cloistered-government leader,” Mr. Toyoda, 68, said at a shareholder meeting at Toyota’s headquarters southwest of Tokyo.

Mr. Toyoda was responding to questions posed by several shareholders asking whether recent problems over mishandled safety tests may reflect broader governance problems within Toyota, including insufficient checks and balances on management.

Toyota’s shareholder meeting, presided over by Koji Sato, the chief executive, was widely viewed as a referendum on what kind of role Mr. Toyoda should hold within Toyota, nearly 15 months after he stepped down as chief executive to become chairman. Some investors and Toyota insiders view the level of influence Mr. Toyoda maintains within the automaker as a governance problem, The New York Times reported on Monday.

At the end of the meeting, Toyota announced that all 10 of the directors it had nominated, including Mr. Toyoda, had received the majority votes needed for reappointment. Toyota said it would release vote figures on Wednesday.

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