Halfway down a press release announcing that Shigeki Terashi was named president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMA) was this: Jim Lentz is named CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, effective April 1. Lentz is the first American to take that position in the company.

TMA is the holding company under which all of Toyota's North American operations are grouped. Terashi will fulfill two roles when his new appointment is official on April 1, the new one and his current one as president of Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing, NA.

Lentz will rise from his current position as COO. He became one of the prominent faces of Toyota during the company's recent recall issues, publicly making the interview rounds and testifying before Congress to address the situation.

Follow the jump for Toyota's press release on the management shuffle.
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Toyota Announces North American Leadership Changes

(March 07, 2012) -- Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced various global leadership changes today, including the naming of Shigeki Terashi as president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMA) effective April 1.

In this new role, Mr. Terashi will be Toyota's chief regional officer for North America, and will chair Toyota's cross-affiliate North American Executive Committee.

Mr. Terashi, who will also retain his current position as president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, North America, Inc. (TEMA), joined Toyota in 1980 in the body engineering design division and began by working on the Camry project. Before being named president of TEMA last year, Mr. Terashi led the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) and oversaw the development and launch of the Venza, Sienna and other key products in North America.

Other North American changes announced today, also effective April 1, include:
- Yoshi Inaba, currently president and COO of TMA, will remain on Toyota's North American Executive Committee to support Mr. Terashi in his new role, but will be moving back to Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS), to focus mainly on his role as Chairman of TMS.
- Jim Lentz, currently president and COO of TMS, will become president and CEO of TMS. Mr. Lentz is the first American to be named CEO of TMS.
- Massy Tomozoe, previously senior vice president of North America business planning and chief coordinating officer for TMA, will return to Japan to accept a senior management position, which will be announced at a later date.

Under Mr. Terashi's leadership, Toyota's North American Executive Committee will continue to meet monthly. Other members of the Executive Committee include: Yoshi Inaba, Dian Ogilvie, George Borst, Jim Lentz, Kazuhiro Miyauchi, Ray Tanguay and Steve St. Angelo.