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Conomos steps back

After 25 years with the company, Toyota Australia boss retires as executive chairman

Toyota logo28 Apr 2006

By NEIL MCDONALD

TOYOTA Motor Corporation Australia chief John Conomos, 63, will retire from his role as executive chairman on June 23.

The head of Australia’s leading car company signalled his intention to wind down his day-to-day "line-management duties" last week but will take up a position of chairman emeritus and principal policy adviser for the company.

He will also continue in his role as the president of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, but will retire from his position as managing officer of parent TMC.

Toyota Australia spokesman Peter Griffin said this week that the role of executive chairman was created for Mr Conomos in 2004 but there was no requirement on the company’s behalf to maintain that position.

"With him retiring from that role there is no intention at this stage to keep the role going," he said, adding that any decision would be determined by the TMC board and as such "will be considered in due course".

A replacement for Mr Conomos as managing officer, traditionally a two-year posting, will be named at TMC’s annual shareholders’ meeting in June. Mr Griffin declined to put forward a likely candidate but described the boardroom shuffle as a "reinvigoration of the company". He said it would be one of several managing officer roles to be up for renewal.

In a statement issued last week, Toyota Australia described Mr Conomos’ new role as "supporting the president and board of TMCA in government policy on automotive development and export, in major client relations with particular emphasis on export customers and export opportunities and in dealer policy and relationship, as well as assisting to develop the next generation of management within TMCA".

Mr Griffin said Mr Conomos’ knowledge on exports and export opportunities and dealer relationships was "second to none".

"We’ll still be tapping into his expertise," he said.

Toyota Australia president and chief executive officer Ted Okada will continue in his roles and chair board meetings.

Mr Conomos has held various positions with Toyota since 1981. Before joining the Japanese auto giant he worked for the British Leyland Motor Corp and was the first employee of Daihatsu in Australia.

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