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Toyota's global design chief Tokuo Fukuichi appointed president of Lexus

Thu, 27 Feb 2014

Toyota's global design chief Tokuo Fukuichi will be the first designer to sit on the company's board of directors when his appointment comes into effect on 1 April.

Fukuichi will retain his position as global head of design for the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands and will join the board after the general shareholders' meeting.

His influence on Toyota's design direction over the last few years has been noticeable, particularly with Lexus, as the company strives to make its traditionally very conservative products a little more exciting.

However the execution of production cars is still questionable – the Toyota GT86 a prime example – but with a designer given the power to push design quality through the decision-making process perhaps this latest development will help the cause.

Current president Kiyotaka Ise will leave the board and become chief officer of the R&D department, overseeing materials engineering, fuel cell development and sports vehicle management.

By Rufus Thompson