If we're to talk about automotive industry leaders around the world, Akio Toyoda will definitely be listed as one of the most notable. Toyota's outgoing CEO has been at the company's helm for more than a decade, leading the Japanese automaker to become one of the world's best these days.
In a New Year's ceremony in Japan led by Akio Toyoda himself, the incoming chairman of the board talked about the challenges the company faced in 2022 and expressed his gratitude to everyone who supported the company. Of note, Toyota retains its crown as the world's best-selling automaker in 2022 despite the setbacks it faced last year.
Approximately 500 employees gathered at the Toyota City headquarters in Aichi Prefecture on January 10. A message for domestic employees was delivered remotely to accommodate those who could not fit in the venue.
There was also a question and answer portion, and one question from a 20-year-old Toyota employee was answered candidly by the renowned automotive executive.
In the Q&A, the staff member asked Toyoda about his experience when he was his age. Toyoda admitted that he was a terrible person at the time, who only did sports and was cheeky, and inappropriate in word and action during games.
However, there were people who helped him grow and he is grateful for that. Toyoda believes that young people should be given opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them. He wants senior employees to help others, participate in building the future, and inspire young people to do the same. Toyoda encourages the staff member to have a lot of experience now so that when he wants to help others, he'll have the resources.
There were other wisdom and advice imparted during the ceremony, which you can watch in the embedded video above (turn the captions on for English).
Toyoda has been Toyota's president and CEO for the last 13 years, but that's about to end this year as he's about to step down on April 1, 2023. He'll be taking on the role of the company's chairman of the board. Koji Sato, Toyota's current chief branding officer, international president of Lexus, and the head of Gazoo Racing, will succeed Toyoda as the new CEO.