Toyota CEO and Chairman Akio Toyoda resigns

Akio Toyoda, chairman and CEO of Toyota Motor Corp.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Toyota Motor Corporation President and CEO Akio Toyoda will step down on April 1 to be replaced by current brand director Koji Sato, the Japanese automaker announced Thursday.

Toyoda will become the new chairman of the board, while current chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada will remain on the board.

Toyoda, 66, is the grandson of the automaker’s founder and has served as chief executive since June 2009.

“I thought the best way to continue Toyota’s transformation would be for me to become chairman in support of a new chairman, and that led to today’s decision. Chairman Uchiyamada has long supported me in every way imaginable,” Toyoda said on a webcast.

“Looking back, those 13 years were a time of struggling to survive one day after another, and that’s my honest feeling,” he added.

Tokyo-listed Toyota shares ended the session down 0.63% on Thursday ahead of the announcement.

CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this story

Correction: This article has been updated to indicate that Toyoda was referring to the Toyota Company when discussing its transformation in the webcast.

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