Sato began his profession at Toyota in 1992, earlier than rising via the ranks to grow to be chief engineer of Lexus Worldwide in 2016, primarily based on his profile on the Toyota web site.
“The business itself is going through a once-in-a-century disruption, with many unknowns to navigate,” mentioned John Shook, a former Toyota supervisor who now consults on the lean administration methods pioneered by the corporate. “I can think about that Akio thought now could be the time to transition so his successor can steer the ship via the uncertainty forward.”
Sato has held positions because the president of Lexus Worldwide and Gazoo Racing Firm since 2020.
He additionally took on an govt position at Toyota and have become its chief branding officer in January 2021, which is sweet information for the corporate because the business undergoes change, mentioned Christopher Richter, Deputy Head of Japan Analysis at funding group CLSA.
“Having any person who’s delicate to the necessity to develop a model, that’s all of the extra vital proper now as you’re heading into the EV age, the place numerous what made the model adjustments,” Richter mentioned.
“Automotive firms used to dwell and die by their engines. You might be altering to a distinct sort of auto. Constructing a model round this new sort of structure, this new sort of drive (…) is vital,” he added.
One of many major causes Sato was elected as a successor was his love of making vehicles, Toyoda mentioned through the official announcement which was broadcast on-line.
In his spare time, Sato enjoys visiting temples in Kyoto and practices Japanese tea ceremonies, in accordance with a profile on the Gazoo web site.
He drives a Toyota Supra that was handed down from his father-in-law, the profile mentioned.
That zeal was apparent in a short video clip launched in 2021, the place Sato sits subsequent to Toyoda as they test-drive a Lexus EV. As Toyoda accelerates and whoops excitedly, Sato could be seen with a large grin and sometimes laughing, unable to include his delight.