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Japan-Update

Toyota to tap its first female director

SMBC's Teiko Kudo is among three independent board candidates

  © Reuters

TOYOTA -- Toyota Motor is set to name the first woman to its board as part of a slate of three new outside directors.

Teiko Kudo, a managing executive officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., will be the first female director if approved at the annual shareholder meeting in June. Kudo has experience in international finance in such areas as natural resource development and infrastructure. She also has a hand in the Mirai Creation Fund, where Toyota and SMBC are investors.

Ikuro Sugawara, a former vice minister at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and International Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven were also nominated as independent directors. Ikuo Uno and two other current outside directors are expected to step down.

Given the rapid development of innovations like electrification and self-driving cars, automakers continue to partner with other industries, such as artificial intelligence and communications. The board shuffle seems aimed at acquiring talent with expertise in these new fields as Toyota works on convenient transportation services for the elderly and disabled, next-generation vehicles and other projects.

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