Toyota Motor Corporation is making changes to its executive structure, senior management responsibilities, and organisational structure from 1 April, 2020.

The changes will see the automaker’s top non-Japanese executive, Frenchman Didier Leroy, relinquish his executive vice president roles as chief competitive officer and president of business planning operations but he will continue as a director.

The role of chief competitive officer has been handed to Shigeki Terashi who was previously chief technology officer and also now becomes chief project officer. He remains chief officer of the Toyota ZEV Factory.

The flatter structure sees Shigeki Tomoyama add chief production officer to his roles while Masahiko Maeda becomes chief technology officer and president of the vehicle development centre.

At regional level, chief operating officer of Toyota North America, Tetsuo Ogawa, becomes CEO.

TNC president Akio Toyoda said it had become “necessary for me to directly communicate with the leaders of the next generation and to increase the amount of time for sharing our concerns, by further reducing the number of layers of management”.

The company said “severe changes in the external environment” were “taking place at unprecedented speed”.

It added that consolidating the posts of executive vice presidents and operating officers would see operating officers “serve as chief officers, as presidents of in-house companies, as regional CEOs, and as persons in charge of various functions, and their roles will be further clarified”.

“Such roles will not be fixed, so as to allow the right people to take on responsibilities where and as needed.”