Senior Toyota executive held in drug bust quits

July 02, 2015 08:36
Julie Hamp has been in custody since June 18. Photo: Reuters/Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. managing officer Julie Hamp has resigned after being arrested for alleged illegal drug imports into Japan.

The scandal is a setback for Toyota president Akio Toyoda’s campaign to diversify his executive ranks, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Hamp, an American and the most senior female executive -- she served as chief communications officer -- at the world’s biggest carmaker by sales, submitted her resignation Tuesday through her lawyer, Toyota said Wednesday.

She has been in custody since her arrest on June 18 on suspicion of importing oxycodone, a powerful painkiller.

Prosecutors must decide by July 8 whether to indict her on the drug charge.

Toyoda, the scion of Toyota’s founding family, has been pushing his employees to take more business risks and globalize one of Japan’s most conservative companies.

“The appointment of Ms. Hamp as a managing officer was the first experience for Toyota to have a non-Japanese executive based in Japan, and it was a big decision,” Toyota said in a portion of its Japanese-language statement that wasn’t released in English. 

In another part of the statement released in both languages, Toyota said it remained “firmly committed to putting the right people in the right places, regardless of nationality, gender, age and other factors”, the report said.

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