Thomas N. (Toby) Hynes has joined distributor Gulf States Toyota (GST) as president and general manager, ending a 30-year career at Ford which included nearly four years of service as president and chief operating officer of Ford Credit's Primus financial division.

Mr. Hynes succeeds Earl Hesterberg at Gulf States. Mr. Hesterberg, a onetime Nissan Motor Sales U.S.A. senior executive, moved to Ford of Europe.

Houston-based Gulf States has for 30 years been distributor of Toyota and Lexus vehicles to 139 dealers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Its parent company is The Friedman Companies, and Mr. Hynes reports to its president, Dan Friedkin.

The only other Toyota distributor in the U.S. is Southeast Toyota, based in Deerfield Beach, FL, and owned by JM Family Enterprises. It serves 162 Toyota and Lexus stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Mr. Hynes is a master's degree graduate of Stanford (CA) University School of Business. He joined Primus in 1995, after 26 years in Ford sales and marketing.