As President of Toyota Motor Corporation, Fujio Cho headed Toyota’s entire scope of operations from its world headquarters in Tokyo. He is widely regarded as the founding father of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. (TMC). Cho was instrumental in honing the company’s production system. He was instrumental in the preparations for Toyota’s first American plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, which opened in 1986.
Cho also has extensive experience in Japanese industrial affairs, having worked in a supporting role with Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) under former Toyota Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda.
A graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo, Cho joined Toyota in 1960 upon earning his degree. After spending his early career in general affairs, he was promoted to manager in the production control division assigned to the operations management consulting department. In this department, under the supervision of Taichi Ohno, the father of just-in-time production, he studied the principles of the Toyota Production System, a key philosophical principal eliminating waste in pursuit of efficency.
Cho was dispatched to Kentucky in 1987, as executive vice president at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. He was named a director in 1988, and later that year he became president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. The factory proved to be very successful and Toyota cars were soon a very popular choice in the American market. The Toyota Camry’s 1997 triumph as the number one selling passenger car in the United States solidified Cho’s reputation. As of 2021, TMMK is the largest Toyota plant in the world at over 9 million square feet. It is capable of producing up to 550,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines annually.
Cho returned to Japan in 1994 where he was named senior managing director of Toyota headquarters in 1996. In 1998, Cho became executive vice president, where he oversaw Toyota’s corporate planning, information systems, and industrial equipment. Cho assumed the position of president in 1999.
As the company’s head, he not only shaped corporate policy for Toyota, but served as a spokesman for the automobile industry and for manufacturing in general.
Cho enjoys golf and fishing, and he also likes to listen to music. He was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1937, and presently resides in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture.