Toyota Motor Europe (TME) has named Masato Katsumata senior vice-president of research & development (R&D), effective from 1 February.

He replaced Kazuhiko Miyadera, whose five-year tenure saw a EUR75m expansion to TME’s R&D capability and the European development of the third generation Avensis, which went into production here in the UK late last year.

Katsumata joined Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in 1987 after graduating with a degree in hydrodynamics from Tokyo University.

He started his career as a chassis engineer before making the shift to product planning in 1993 and product management in 2000. In 2003, he returned to the planning division (R&D), where he managed mid-term R&D strategy.

In 2005, he was named chief engineer of a new generation Toyota vehicle, which will be revealed at the Geneva motor show on 2 March, the company said.