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Toyota cuts back on advisory posts for retired executives

Former Presidents Okuda and Watanabe to depart as automaker responds to critics

Toyota's former presidents Katsuaki Watanabe, left, and Hiroshi Okuda will step down.

NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota Motor will slash the number of paid advisory positions handed to top executives after retirement from 61 to just nine, bowing to demands for greater transparency and marking a large shift for the automaker long known for having a heavy presence of such roles.

Former President Hiroshi Okuda will step down as an adviser, as will Katsuaki Watanabe, the immediate predecessor to current chief Akio Toyoda. Executives at the Japanese automaker who leave as a vice president or higher generally go on to serve four years as an adviser, while lower-ranking executives get one to two years.

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