Proxy firms Glass Lewis, ISS recommend vote against Toyota chairman

Toyoda was re-elected to the board last year with around 85% approval, a drop from the previous year's almost 96%. — Bloomberg

TOKYO: Proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services have recommended Toyota Motor shareholders vote against re-electing chairman Akio Toyoda at the Japanese automaker's annual general meeting in June.

Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder and previously its chief executive, was re-elected to the board last year with around 85% approval, a drop from the previous year's almost 96%.

That represented a rare rebuke in corporate Japan where board members are frequently re-elected with near unanimous shareholder endorsement.

No one was immediately available to comment on the matter at Toyota.

Last year, the Japanese automaker's affiliate Daihatsu said it had rigged safety tests for some 88,000 small cars, most of them sold under the Toyota brand, causing a reputational risk for Japan's largest automaker.

Toyota, the world's biggest automaker by volume, has also faced separate governance issues at truck maker Hino Motors and affiliate Toyota Industries.

"In consideration of the current situation where a spate of certification irregularities occurred in the Toyota Motor group, shareholders are advised to vote against Chairman Akio Toyoda," ISS wrote in a report.

Glass Lewis recommended a vote against Toyoda last year too, citing what it said was his responsibility for a lack of board independence.

The automaker had previously said its board meets governance standards set by the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Last year, it said Toyoda had been re-nominated because he would push transformation of the company.

Glass Lewis also said shareholders should vote against re-electing the board's vice chairman, Shigeru Hayakawa, and showed a copy of its recommendations to shareholders with Reuters on Tuesday.

It had not made such a recommendation last year. It said shareholders should also vote against a proposal urging the manufacturer to align its lobbying activity with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Autos Toyota