Special Coverage

Tokyo
Auto Show

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp.’s pay structure for its U.S. executives is “basically in line” with the U.S. auto industry, Shigeru Hayakawa, president-Toyota Motor North America, tells Ward’s here at a media reception during the Tokyo auto show.

“We always benchmark other industry competitors and other industries, but in the case of headhunting, they always offer much more money than (our executives) are currently receiving,” he says. “So sometimes we can compete and sometimes we cannot.”

Several recent high-profile departures from Toyota’s U.S. operations have called into question Toyota’s compensation of U.S. executives.

In August, Deborah Wahl Meyer, former vice president-marketing for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s Lexus unit, as well as Jim Press, Hayakawa’s predecessor, left for positions at Chrysler LLC.

And just two weeks ago, Jim Farley, vice president-marketing for the Toyota Div., jumped ship for Ford Motor Co., where he will oversee global marketing and communications.

Hayakawa says each of those executives gave different reasons for leaving Toyota, with money just one part of the equation. The opportunity to take on new challenges and occupy a higher rank within their new companies were other factors that led to the departures.

“Like Jim Farley, his position is much, much higher (at Ford than it was at Toyota),” Hayakawa says.

When asked if U.S. executives could expect to rise to the rank of president of TMC, Hayakawa says “not in the near future.”

However, the possibility remains for Americans to join Toyota’s board of directors.

Press had been appointed a managing officer just prior to his departure.

“We have very good executives in the United States, like Jim Lentz (president of TMSUSA) and Steve St. Angelo (president of Toyota Motor Mfg. Kentucky), and many others, just in Toyota Motor Sales,” Hayakawa says.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com