Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is in need of some media grooming ahead of his appearance before Congress, several industry insiders are saying. Toyoda is set to testify before a congressional panel regarding the recall of millions of its vehicles, but some say major prep work is in order to ready the oftentimes private CEO.
"They will probably have an international law firm come in with a foreign lawyer and ask him possible questions in English, to test if he can understand them and answer them properly," said Kuniyoshi Shirai, executive adviser at ACE Consulting Inc, who has advised Japanese executives appearing in U.S. courts. "Content will be important, so he will undergo tough checks to see if his comments are conveyed accurately."
Some say a major point of focus will be preparing Japanese-born Toyoda for cultural differences that may come off as insincere in the US.
"A humble Japanese who's in apology mode might not necessarily look people in the eye as much as a Westerner would," said [Deborah] Hayden of Kreab Gavin Anderson. "This in America, and internationally, may be misinterpreted as weakness or perhaps trying to hide something."