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Toyota's Akio Toyoda to step down as CEO and president

Lexus chief Koji Sato, 53, to take over on April 1; Toyoda to become chairman

Akio Toyoda, left, will be replaced by Koji Sato as president and CEO of Toyota on April 1. (Source photos by Tomoki Mera and Yuki Nakao) 

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor announced on Thursday that Akio Toyoda will step down as president and CEO on April 1 to be replaced by Chief Branding Officer Koji Sato, who has been tapped to "fully remodel" the automaker as a mobility company.

The first change of president in 14 years for the company comes as Toyota grapples with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of electric vehicles and other mobility technologies. Toyota has faced criticism that it has been too slow to adapt to the rapid rise of EV challengers like Tesla and China's BYD.

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