A glimpse inside the mind of Toyota USA president Jim Press

Strangely, it was hard to get Jim Press to talk about cars.

That sentence opens Richard Ducote’s opinion piece on Toyota's head honcho for the Arizona Daily Star. Press, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, was speaking at the University of Arizona, where he had been named 2006 Executive of the Year.

Press didn’t pitch Toyota and its products to the crowd. Instead, he discussed how a company that understands and respects its employees and customers will bring its own success. His own story illustrated this view: Press joined Toyota from Ford Motor Co. back in 1970 when his boss (who also joined the then-fledging Japanese automaker) said it was a good place to work. Press was admittedly keen to point out how development on Toyota’s hybrid technology systems began in the 1990s (when gasoline prices were relatively low), a program at least partially motivated by figuring out ways to make society a better place.

"I immediately saw that it (hybrids) was the right thing for our company to do for the future," said Press.

Perhaps a bit of a puff p.r. piece, Ducote's Press story nevertheless provides an interesting bit of background on the Toyota bigwig.

[Source: Arizona Daily Star]

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