Former exec: Toyota was 'hijacked'

by Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior write


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Jim Press, the former head of Toyota's U.S. operations and the only non-Japanese ever to sit on the automaker's board of directors, released a statement today blaming the company's troubles on "financially oriented pirates" who "hijacked" the company some years ago.

Press worked at Toyota from 1970 until 2007 when he he went to work at Chrysler, which was then struggling to turn around after splitting off from Daimler.

james_press.03.jpg
Jim Press

In the statement, obtained from the Detroit Free Press, Press expresses confidence in Toyota's current president and CEO Akio Toyoda, who testified Wednesday before a Congressional panel investigating Toyota's recent safety problems.

"Akio Toyoda is not only up for the job, but he is the only person who can save Toyota," Press said "He is very capable, and he embodies the virtues and character that built this great company."

"Toyota doesn't want me to speak out, but I can't stand it anymore and somebody has to tell it like it is," Press said in the written statement. "The root cause of their problems is that the company was hijacked, some years ago, by anti-family, financially oriented pirates. They didn't have the character necessary to maintain a customer first focus."

Toyota employees must stand together behind Toyoda, Press said, to pull the company through its current troubles.

Press left Chrysler quietly late last year, as the company restructured, following bankruptcy, in a partnership with Italy's Fiat.

Toyota spokespeople were not immediately able to respond to a request for comment on the statement. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,651.87 -124.25 -0.70%
Nasdaq 4,868.32 -32.57 -0.66%
S&P 500 2,054.34 -13.55 -0.66%
Treasuries 1.89 -0.04 -2.07%
Data as of 9:43am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Cisco Systems Inc 27.52 0.08 0.31%
Comcast Corp 56.47 -0.14 -0.25%
Windstream Holdings ... 7.40 -0.08 -1.14%
Qualcomm Inc 69.34 0.46 0.67%
Twenty-First Century... 33.84 -0.42 -1.23%
Data as of Mar 31
Sponsors

Sections

Family of J. Paul Getty has $5 billion fortune that came from oil, Wall Street takeover battles and other businesses. More

Americans were expected to spend big this spring after pocketing a lot in savings at the pump. But so far, that's not happening. More