Toyota has announced that Jim Press will become the head of its Toyota Motor Sales USA unit. Press replaces Yukitoshi Funo, who will move to chairman of the unit and chief of Toyota's operations in North and South America. Press has been an executive vice president and COO since 2001 and has been with Toyota since 1970.

This is significant. Japanese companies are not known for their diverse leadership, at the top anyway. It is very unusual to see a non-Japanese person at the head of a Japanese-owned company. If you are thinking about Carlos Ghosn, remember that Renault has a major stake in Nissan. Regardless, Jim Press must be very good at his job to prove himself for this position. This appointment also signals that Toyota has become more open to American culture.

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