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Toyota set to name family member as new president

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has chosen Akio Toyoda, the great-grandson of the company's founder, to become its next president according to reports.

The news, which is being reported by the Wall Street Journal but which Toyota has yet to confirm, marks an astonishing rise for Toyoda (pictured). Just six months after being promoted to the role of chairman board of directors of Toyota’s European arm, he appears set to take on the top job.

The 54-year-old would be the first member of the founding family, which collectively owns a 2% stake in the company, to be in charge since 1995.

Toyota has revenues of $26 billion but may report its first annual operating loss in 70 years this year. However, the appointment of a family member would be a controversial one given the difficulties that the motor industry as a whole faces in the current economic climate.

Toyoda’s great-grandfather, Sakichi Toyoda, is credited with starting the Toyota dynasty when he founded Toyoda Automatic Loom Works in 1926.

Akio 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.

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