TOKYO — Toyota's PR chief Julie Hamp has resigned after being detained by Japanese authorities on the suspicion of illegally importing a prescription drug from the US.
Toyota confirmed her resignation was accepted via a statement released today. Toyota had previously expressed support for Hamp.
Hamp, a US citizen, joined the automaker in 2012 as chief communications officer for Toyota's North America region. Earlier this year, Hamp was promoted to managing officer and to the global role of chief communications officer of the Toyota Motor Company (TMC) as part of a diversity push within the company.
In her new position, which was effective April 1, Hamp reported to Shigeru Hayakawa, senior managing officer of TMC and was relocating to Tokyo. At the time of Hamp's promotion, Toyota issued a statement: "By appointing talented people from affiliates outside Japan to executive positions, Toyota aims to foster innovation by enabling people from many different backgrounds to contribute and provide input."
With her resignation, the company is reiterating its diversity push. In its statement today, Toyota said: "We intend to learn from this incident to help ensure a secure working environment for everyone at Toyota around the world as we continue to take the steps necessary to become a truly global company. We remain firmly committed to putting the right people in the right places, regardless of nationality, gender, age and other factors."
Hamp is an auto industry veteran, having spent seven years at General Motors from 2001 to 2008. She was SVP/chief communications officer at PepsiCo from 2007 to 2012 before joining Toyota.
The SABRE Awards is the world's largest PR awards program, running across six continents. 2016 details now available.