A corporation isn’t a monarchy. But when the leader of the realm — in this case TMNA CEO Jim Lentz — decides to step down
, another must step up to take his place.
That new leader is Tetsuo “Ted” Ogawa.
Who is he? In what ways will he continue along the trail blazed by his predecessor? In what ways might he seek to chart a new path?
The answers to these and other similarly high-level questions will emerge over time. But, for now, here are a few things you should know about the man who will soon be at the top of the TMNA org chart:
- He’s been with Toyota for 35 years — Ogawa joined Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in April of 1984, soon after earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce and management at Hitotsubashi University.
- He’s spent a lot of time in China — He was named general manager of TMC’s China Division in 2012, rose to deputy chief executive officer in 2015 and then became president of Toyota Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd. that same year.
- He’s also no stranger to North America — His first stint in this part of the world came in 2008 when he was named to the executive team at Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, California. In 2017, he was promoted to chief administrative officer and executive vice president of TMNA, based at the new headquarters in Plano, Texas. Two years later, he assumed the dual roles of TMNA’s chief operating officer as well as deputy chief officer of TMC’s External & Public Affairs Group.
- He has a view of the big picture — In his current capacity, Ogawa has been responsible for managing all of North America’s corporate resources and product support functions on a cross-affiliate basis.
- He loves golf — He has a handicap of 15, in the rare moments he’s able to find time in his busy schedule to play the game.
- He has a fan in Jim Lentz — In announcing his intention to retire at the end of the fiscal year, the outgoing CEO had this to say about his successor: “He’s kind, resourceful, hardworking and sharp as a tack. He has and will continue to put his full support into North America. He is fully immersed and committed to our regional goals and understands how to get things done at TMC, which will be a big help with our transition to a mobility company.”
- He will be heading up a strong leadership team — Said Lentz: “Ted, you along with our executive team have a proven track record of delivering results and having a relentless focus on our customers, dealers, team members and key stakeholders. I’m confident the future of Toyota is in good hands with you and this team.”
In other words, he’s the right person at the right time for this very big job. Ogawa, though admitting he was initially in “a little shock” at this turn of events, said he is “humbled and excited” to follow in Lentz’s footsteps.
“Jim, you have put together the strategies, solid plans, and the road map for Toyota’s transformation here in North America,” said Ogawa. “I am committed to see it through.”
By Dan Miller