Taking on a challenge

Jim Press, Toyota’s top U.S. executive, will join Chrysler on September 17.

The hiring of Mr. Press — the president of Toyota North America, who has four decades of experience in the auto business — was hailed as “a major coup” by no less than Ron Gettelfinger, president of the United Automobile Workers union.

When he arrives at Chrysler on Sept. 17, Mr. Press will see a familiar face. Last month, the automaker hired Deborah Wahl Meyer, a vice president in Toyota’s Lexus luxury division, as its new chief marketing officer.

In fact, Ms. Meyer and Mr. Press are among four American Toyota executives who have left in the last year. Two longtime manufacturing executives, Dennis C. Cuneo, a senior vice president, and Gary L. Convis, who ran its North American operations as well as its plant in Georgetown, Ky., both retired, although they are serving as consultants.

Toyota officials in New York insist they have plenty of bench strength and do not fear a brain drain of Americans to Detroit companies.

Mr. Press was succeeded by a Japanese executive, Shigeru Hayakawa, even though Toyota has vowed to run its global operations with local managers.

From The New York Times.


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