Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Hiroshi Okuda is stepping down from his post, ending a near 7-year reign as one of the Japanese auto maker’s most outspoken top executives.

The departure, announced at the company’s general shareholder’s meeting, had been expected for more than a month.

Okuda, 73, who joined Toyota in 1955 and served as president from 1995 to 1999, will remain on the company’s board as a senior adviser.

Toyota Vice Chairman and former President Fujio Cho has been named as Okuda’s successor, Reuters says.

During his tenure in the upper ranks of Japan’s largest auto maker, Okuda oversaw the rollout of the company’s iconic hybrid vehicles; the introduction of Toyota’s Formula 1 racing team; and the expansion of production operations in North America, including a new Tundra pickup factory in San Antonio.