Three of Toyota's top-ranking executives -- Steve Sturm, Dave Danzer and Irv Miller -- will retire within the next two months. Despite Toyota's reputation for having a deep bench, these three executives lead the strategic planning, product planning and public relations divisions and their leaving comes at a time when Toyota is attempting to recover from the crisis.
At the same time, Toyota is seeking to rebuild its reputation after having had a slew of complaints about alleged defects that lead to accidental acceleration. Replacements for these executives have not been announced yet. Steve Sturm, who joined Toyota Motor Sales in 1981, will retire as group vice president of Americas strategic research and planning and corporate communications for Toyota Motor North America in New York.
Sturm had held management and executive positions in product development, pricing, logistics, sales planning, distribution and corporate planning. In 2007, he was "on loan" to Toyota's U.S. holding company. Dave Danzer, group vice president of strategic and product planning, had actually started in Toyota in 1985 as national manager of advertising programs. In various leadership capacities, Danzer held jobs in advertising, merchandising, marketing and customer relations.
He has headed Toyota's product planning since 1999 and is considered to be one of the few true "car guys" in Toyota who boasts to own an array of legitimate collector vehicles.
Meanwhile, Irv Miller, group vice president for environmental and public affairs, has been Toyota's U.S. spokesperson since 2001. Before that, he held management positions in field sales, market representation, merchandising and fleet. Before taking his current position in PR, Miller had been successful at leading Toyota's entry into Internet commerce through Toyota's "Office of the Web" program.