The decision to appoint Hayakawa is not just a knee-jerk reaction to yesterday's shock. Hayakawa is by no means just a fill-in. Like Press, he too has worked at Toyota for more than three decades and has served under Chrysler's new VP for the past year.
Hayakawa started out in the overseas department of Toyota's public affairs division and began at its North American headquarters in New York back in 1994. It's not known where his new office will be (Toyota also has offices in Washington) but it's likely he'll remain in New York.
September 6, 2007 - New York - TOYOTA MOTOR NORTH AMERICA (TMA) announced today that Jim Press, TMA president and a Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) senior managing director, will resign from both positions effective September 14, 2007. Shigeru Hayakawa, currently TMA's executive vice president, will be named president of TMA and will continue to serve as a TMC managing officer.
Press joined Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. in 1970 and has been a key driving force behind Toyota's U.S. operations for 37 years. Regarding his departure from Toyota, Press said, "Toyota has been the centerpiece of my life. This was the most difficult decision I have made, but I am truly looking forward to an exciting new chapter in my career."
TMC President Katsuaki Watanabe commented, "Jim has played a significant role in strengthening Toyota's presence in the U.S. I was looking forward to him playing a bigger role as a member of our management team, so I am sorry to see him leave.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for all he has done for Toyota."
Hayakawa joined Toyota in 1977. He started in the overseas department of the Public Affairs Division, where his responsibilities included international media relations, government affairs, investor relations and corporate advertising. In 1994 he began a six year assignment in New York at TMA. He became head of the International Communications Department in 2002 and general manager of the Public Affairs Division in 2005. He was named managing officer of TMC and executive vice president of TMA in 2007.