CEO Talks: Katsuaki Watanabe: Toyota's Tough Boss

Katsuaki Watanabe can't wait for the carmaker's next challenges

After a 41-year apprenticeship at Toyota Motor, Katsuaki Watanabe became its president in June. Best known for a cost-cutting initiative that squeezed suppliers and saved nearly $10 billion over five years, Watanabe, 63, takes charge at a time when Toyota (2004 sales: 7.5 million vehicles) is on track to eclipse General Motors as the world's largest carmaker. He spoke to TIME's WILLIAM GREEN and MICHIKO TOYAMA at his company's headquarters in Toyota City, Japan.

TIME How can you avoid the dangers of what you have called "Big Business disease"--of Toyota becoming too large and complacent?

KATSUAKI WATANABE Everyone should be dissatisfied...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!