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Jim Press: Toyoda can save Toyota from 'pirates'

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Jim Press: Toyoda can save Toyota from 'pirates'



Jim Press, the former Chrysler executive who was the first American member of Toyota’s board of directors, said today that Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda was the right executive to save his company from “financially oriented pirates.”

“The root cause of their problems is that the company was hijacked, some years ago, by anti-family, financially oriented pirates,” Press said in a rare statement.

“They didn't have the character necessary to maintain a customer first focus. Akio does.”

The comments are the first Press has made about the company where he spent 36 years before joining Chrysler in September 2007. He had been the highest-ranking American executive in Toyota until he left for Chrysler.

“Akio Toyoda is not only up for the job, but he is the only person who can save Toyota. He is very capable, and he embodies the virtues and character that built this great company.

“Toyota doesn't want me to speak out, but I can't stand it anymore and somebody has to tell it like it is.”

Toyoda, the grandson of the company’s founder, will tell the House Oversight Committee that the company grew too rapidly in recent years, straining its reputation for quality. He has pledged to establish new quality controls, and Toyota said Tuesday it would give U.S. executives more say in recalls.

“What the company needs now is for everyone in the company to get behind Akio and do everything possible to emerge from this mess as an even stronger company," Press said.



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