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Toyota scion to take helm in reshuffle

  • Story Highlights
  • President Watanabe will replace retiring Nakagawa as vice chairman
  • Current chairman Fujio Cho will remain in place
  • Reshuffle comes after plans to idle factories for extra 11 days
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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's top automaker Toyota reshuffled its leadership Tuesday after posting a 4 percent decline in sales for 2008, with the grandson of the company's founder becoming president.

Toyota executives have warned investors to expect losses.

Toyota executives have warned investors to expect losses.

Akio Toyoda will replace Katsuaki Watanabe as the company's president in June, the company announced. Toyoda's grandfather, Kiichiro Toyoda, took what was then a textile-equipment company into the automotive business in 1935.

Watanabe will replace the retiring Katsuhiro Nakagawa as Toyota's vice chairman, while the current chairman, Fujio Cho, will remain in place, the company said.

The moves -- which must be confirmed by the company's governing board in June -- follow the release of sales figures showing the company's overall receipts down 4 percent in 2008. Japanese sales were down 5 percent, with overseas markets seeing a 4 percent decline.

Toyota executives warned investors to expect losses in December. Last week, it announced plans to idle all 12 of its wholly owned factories in Japan for an extra 11 days in response to the slumping auto market worldwide.

Japan's Nikkei index was off more than 3 percent in afternoon trading.

Toyota executives had warned investors in December to expect losses.

Last week it also announced plans to idle idle all 12 of its wholly owned factories in Japan for an extra 11 days in response to the slumping auto market. Video Watch how times have changed for Toyota »

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