Jim Press, the man at the helm of Toyota Motor North America, is set to become the first non-Japanese member of Toyota's board of directors. He is currently a managing officer of the company, but when promoted the title on his desk will read "Senior Managing Director". That desk will be shipped to Japan, where Press is apparently being relocated. It's not clear how effectively Press will be able to manage Toyota Motor North America from his executive desk chair in Japan, though we imagine many red eye flights will be required to keep an eye on the North American market. His appointment to the board of directors clearly signals the importance of the North American market to Toyota's fortunes, as if launching its own half-ton pickup in the U.S. didn't already send that signal loud and clear.
[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]