Toyota global comms leader Julie Hamp resigns after drug arrest

She is still in police custody.

Toyota Motor global managing officer and CCO Julie Hamp has stepped down after being arrested in Tokyo on June 18 for allegedly importing illegal painkillers.

Senior managing officer Shigeru Hayakawa will take on Hamp’s responsibilities until a full-time replacement is named, according to Reuters.

The automaker, which initially defended Hamp after the arrest, said in a statement that it "accepted her resignation after considering the concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused our stakeholders."

Hamp relocated to Toyota’s global headquarters in Japan in April after being promoted from North America CCO in March. She was the first female senior executive to reach that level at the automaker.

Hamp was arrested last month after customs agents found 57 tablets containing oxycodone, which is tightly regulated in Japan, in a package she allegedly sent to herself from the US. Hamp told authorities that she did not intend to break Japanese law. Toyota president Akio Toyoda backed Hamp in a press conference, saying the company did not do enough to help her integrate into Japanese culture

Although oxycodone is widely prescribed in the US, it is considered a narcotic in Japan and requires permission to be imported into the country.

Hamp, who has not yet been charged, is in police custody, where she can stay for up to 20 days, according to Japanese law. If found guilty, she could face jail time of up to 10 years.

In June 2012, Hamp took over communications at Toyota North America. Scott Vazin succeeded Hamp when she was promoted this spring.

Toyota reclaimed the top spot as the world’s number one car-seller in 2012. The company also launched its Let’s Go Places campaign in the fall of that year, emphasizing the way it is moving forward.

Prior to joining Toyota, Hamp was PepsiCo’s CCO and SVP of consumer relations for more than four years. She resigned from that post in March 2012. During her time at PepsiCo, Hamp reorganized the comms department to be more streamlined and globally focused.

Previously, Hamp worked at General Motors for 25 years, where she held senior communications roles such as VP of communications for Europe and general director of communications for Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

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