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Toyota Board selects Founder's grandson as next president: WSJ

The senior Board members of Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) has selected Akio Toyoda, a grandson of the company's founder, as the company's next president, The Wall Street Journal's online edition reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

It is likely to take weeks for a formal decision on the appointment, but senior board members have informed Toyoda about his selection to succeed the current president, Katsuaki Watanabe. It is reported that Toyoda might take over the position officially in June following a shareholders' meeting.

Last week, Japanese media had reported that Watanabe will become vice chairman and Chairman Fujio Cho will retain his post.

It will be the first time since 1995 that a member of the founding family taking the lead in the company, which was founded in 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda. The 52-year-old newly selected president, who is known for his aggressive management, joined the company in 1984 and has been an executive vice president since 2005.

Toyoda faces huge challenges of leading Toyota, the second auto maker in the world, which is expected to report its first annual operating loss in 70 years forced by plummeting global auto sales.

However, critics reportedly have warned against Toyoda's appointment, saying that a major publicly listed company such as Toyota should move beyond family control. As per reports, the Toyoda family holds about a 2% stake in Toyota.

TM closed Friday's regular trading session at $66.53, down $1.85 or 2.71%, on a volume of 799 thousand shares.

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