New roles at Toyota for Fujiwara, Wakabayashi and Jimenez


Norio Wakabayashi has been appointed as chairman of Toyota Material Handling Europe (TMHE), following predecessor Hirooki Fujiwara’s move to a new position at Toyota Material Handling Group, Takahama, Aichi, in Japan. However he will stay on as a member of the TMHE board.

Wakabayashi brings extensive experience to his new role, having worked in the Toyota organisation with a strong focus on Europe for over 30 years. He initially worked within Area Operations for Europe in the Toyota Motor Corporation in his early career. His focus moved to material handling in 1991 and during 2003-2012 he was based in Europe working as assistant to the president of Toyota Industrial Equipment Europe (2003-5, Brussels), then as President of Toyota’s German operations (2005-7, Duisburg) before moving to Italy as president and then chairman of operations in that market. As a result he has developed a wide experience of European business, and also a good understanding of European cultures.

He takes on his new role at a key time for the company, with both TMHE and the parent company TICO posting strong results, and set to expand further in the European and world markets, aiming to continue to develop and reliably deliver excellent, sustainable and profitable solutions for customers. His solid experience in sales and marketing, having most recently been general manager, overseas sales and marketing at TICO will no doubt add weight to his new role.

Meanwhile in the USA, Toyota Industrial Equipment announced Cesar Jimenez has been promoted to director, product planning, technical services and warranty. He is the newest member of Toyota’s executive team. Jimenez began his career at Toyota as a college intern in the summer of 1996. Since then, he has held a number of positions including national product planning manager and most recently, national product planning and training manager. He has been instrumental in the successful launch of more than 25 material handling products during his career at Toyota.

“Commensurate with a recent department reorganization, Cesar and his team now have responsibility for Toyota’s product line throughout its life cycle, including pre-development, launch, warranty and the ongoing resolution of any technical problems,” said president Jeff Rufener. “Cesar’s promotion reflects this significant new responsibility and his outstanding work over the course of his 19 years with Toyota.”

Jimenez is an active member of the material handling industry. He currently serves as the Industrial Truck Association’s Vice Chairman of the Energy Storage Systems Subcommittee and also is a member of the General Engineering Committee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California.

3 July 2015

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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