Toyota Motor Corp. has named global design chief Tokuo Fukuichi as president of Lexus International and as a member of its board. He will still serve as chief of the global design group that includes Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. This will be the first time that a design chief was named as global head of Lexus. Fukuichi will assume his new role at Lexus effective April 1.
His board appointment, however, still needs approval at a general shareholders' meeting scheduled in June. Fukuichi will take his seat on a slightly downsized board, filling a slot typically reserved for the head of Lexus International.
On the other hand, current Lexus International president Kiyotaka Ise will leave the board and become chief officer of the company's r&d group. Ise will also be in charge of overseeing materials engineering, fuel cell development and sports vehicle management.
Fukuichi’s promotion underscores the priority set by President Akio Toyoda to focus more on design. Toyota -- set to launch new generation of vehicles using shared parts in 2015 -- is expected to introduce a breakthrough in developing vehicles featuring eye-catching designs. Toyota’s new product development strategy, dubbed as TNGA, will have its debut in the redesigned Prius hybrid. [source: Toyota]