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Toyota New Zealand appoints new Chief Executive Officer

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Toyota New Zealand has promoted current Chief Operating Officer Neeraj Lala, to the Chief Executive Officer role effective from the 1st July 2020.

Mr Lala replaces Alistair Davis, who has retired from the position he has held for 12 years and will retain a connection with Toyota New Zealand as non-executive chair of the board.

Mr Lala will be only the fifth local Toyota CEO since its establishment more than 50 years ago. The wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) prefers to promote from within and maintain stability through long tenure Chief Executives.

Neeraj said he was excited to take the helm of Toyota New Zealand as the global company transitioned from a traditional automaker, known for its cars, trucks and vans, to a mobility company focused on future technologies.

“It has been a privilege to serve under Alistair’s leadership over the past decade and I appreciate his encouragement of my career development at Toyota. Alistair’s focus on people, culture and sustainability is well-embedded in the company and in the leadership team.”

“I intend to carry on with that core focus, while advocating for an even better use of data and digital assets to get closer to our customers, particularly in these challenging and competitive times,” he says.

Alistair Davis says Neeraj is a qualified leader who thrives on challenges and has the energy and vision to inspire and lead the company forward into a changed world.

“In Neeraj, Toyota has a well-prepared leader to take the company forward in the post COVID-19 economy. He is an advocate for new ideas when it comes to how automakers market and sell their products in the 21st century,” he says.

Neeraj is passionate about cars (he drives a 2020 Toyota GR Supra) and technology. Coincidentally his interests mirror those of TMC President Akio Toyoda who is also a car enthusiast and is passionate to develop further the interface between mobility and digital technology.

Neeraj Lala joined Toyota New Zealand as an Internet Development Co-ordinator with a Bachelor of Commerce from Victoria University in 1998. Over the years, he worked in most areas of the Toyota business including Marketing, New Vehicles, Product Planning, IT and Used Vehicles. In 2014, he completed an Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA), finishing top in his class with Distinction from Massey University.

Since returning in 2018 from a three-year Executive Leadership programme with Toyota Motor Sales in the United States, Neeraj has been instrumental in driving transformational change at Toyota.

Born and bred in Wellington, Neeraj is a Kiwi through and through – he attended Wellington College, Otago and Victoria Universities. Neeraj is married with three children – one of whom is now a fledgling go-kart racer.