Akio Toyoda’s New Company Portrait

Akio Toyoda, dressed for the office

An interesting feature about Toyota’s comeback from adversity in Fortune Magazine with an insight into how the company weathered both the Tsunami and the recall crisis of 2009. The best part, in my view, is the company portrait of the president. Not the usual corporate suit or even blue shirt and trousers of the production line staff. Instead, he’s featured in full race suit, helmet not under his arm, but in place, ready to go.

The interview is an interesting read, covering his newer style of management and more interestingly, his recognition that Toyota are historically perceived as reliable, dependable, but lacking in emotion. Akio has pledged to change this. “I think it’s possible for Toyota to improve upon the emotion of cars. There are capable engineers who are about to do that. So what I think is needed is to really have a champion to encourage people to take action on that, to serve as a leader to address any problems after a challenge.”

So what does the portrait say about him? It’s up there with the Richard Branson style of image, memorable and making a statement. Perhaps most importantly, the helmet is not under his arm, but in place, ready to climb into an LFA. It’s Akio saying that this is not just a publicity shot, I’m a driver and we’re moving this company forwards. I think it looks pretty cool, what’s your views?

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