Lexus chief to take over Toyota as founder’s grandson steps down

TOKYO, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Toyota’s chief executive will step down as head of the company his grandfather founded, the automaker said on Thursday, handing over to the leader of its Lexus luxury brand as the Japanese giant struggles to meet the shift to electric vehicles.

The 53-year-old chief branding officer and president of Toyota Motor Corp’s (7203.T) Lexus brand, Koji Sato, will take over from April 1 when Akio Toyoda becomes chairman, it said.

The issue of who would take over the top spot at Toyota – Japan’s biggest company and one of the world’s most influential manufacturers – has been an increasing focus for investors. But the timing of the announcement was a surprise.

Under the 66-year-old Toyoda, who led the company for more than a decade, the automaker has appeared reluctant to embrace electric vehicles, arguing the hybrid technology it pioneered with its once market-leading Prius was

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Ulta Beauty Hires New Marketing Chief

Beauty retailer

Ulta Beauty Inc.

has tapped Michelle Crossan-Matos, a former Samsung Electronics America marketing leader, as its new chief marketing officer. 

Ms. Crossan-Matos will oversee all integrated marketing, loyalty, creative operations, store design, public relations, consumer insights and retail media activities, according to the Bolingbrook, Ill.-based company. The chief marketing officer role was previously held by

Shelley Haus,

who died of cancer last June.

Most recently, Ms. Crossan-Matos was chief marketing, citizenship and communications officer at Samsung Electronics America. She previously held posts including senior vice president at Samsung, overseeing areas such as corporate strategy and product innovation, as well as CMO at luxury mobile-phone company Vertu and various brand leadership roles in skin care, cosmetics and fragrance at

Procter & Gamble Co.

Michelle Crossan-Matos, Ulta Beauty’s new chief marketing officer.


PRM Creative, Inc.

Ulta in December reported earnings for the quarter ended Oct. 29 that suggested consumers

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Group 1 Automotive Announces Additions of Chief Legal Officer and Chief Marketing Officer

HOUSTON, Jan. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE: GPI) (“Group 1” or the “Company”), an international Fortune 300 automotive retailer with 204 dealerships located in the U.S. and U.K., announced today the appointments of Gillian Hobson as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary and Kimberly Barta as Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.

Hobson joins Group 1 from Vinson & Elkins in Houston where she has served as a member of the firm’s management committee and as Group 1’s primary relationship attorney. During her 22-year tenure, she was part of the mergers and acquisition/capital markets practice group and represented public and private companies in corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, capital-raising transactions, securities law and corporate governance matters. Hobson received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center.

Hobson succeeds Darryl M. Burman

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Industry Veteran Brings More Than 20 Years of Transformative Marketing Experience to the Company

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Peloton (NASDAQ: PTON), the leading connected fitness platform, today announced the appointment of Leslie Berland as Peloton’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), effective January 18, 2023. Berland brings more than two decades of strategic and creative marketing expertise for iconic brands. She will report to CEO Barry McCarthy and serve as a member of the leadership team, overseeing brand and product marketing, creative, consumer insights, membership, and global communications.

Leslie Berland

“Leslie is an accomplished marketer, with proven experience guiding brands in transformation. She understands the critical importance of storytelling and engaging current and future Peloton Members,” said McCarthy. “As we continue our pivot to growth, showcasing the magic that drives people to Peloton and keeps them so passionate and engaged is essential. She and the marketing team

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SymphonyAI Appoints Paul Luongo as Chief Legal Officer

Silicon Valley expert completes executive team as the enterprise AI company continues rapid growth across vertical sectors

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — SymphonyAI, a leader in high-value enterprise AI SaaS for strategic industries, announced today that Paul Luongo has joined the company as chief legal officer.

Luongo will lead commercial contracting, intellectual property, privacy, employment law, corporate governance, and compliance practices across SymphonyAI’s verticals, supporting SymphonyAI’s continued growth and enterprise AI leadership. SymphonyAI provides AI SaaS solutions to verticals including retail, CPG, financial crime prevention, manufacturing, media, and IT/enterprise service management.

“SymphonyAI’s industry-leading technology, combined with our deep, sector-specific expertise, has made us a sought-after solutions provider. Paul joins us as we continue to diversify our client offerings and simultaneously grow our teams and processes to scale, while providing value to customers. It’s an exciting time with new opportunities to continue to differentiate SymphonyAI,” said Sanjay

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Blaze Pizza Names Beto Guajardo Chief Executive Officer

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Blaze Pizza, the nation’s leading fast-casual franchise pizza brand, announced today the appointment of Beto Guajardo as its new president and chief executive officer. Guajardo formerly served as president of Focus Brands International.

Guajardo joins Blaze Pizza after overseeing the international business at Focus Brands, which included more than $400 million of chain sales in over 50 markets with 1,900 restaurants, 100 franchisees and eight brands (Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Jamba, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Schlotzsky’s). Before being promoted to this role, Guajardo was responsible for the turnaround of the 370-unit Schlotzsky’s brand, which resulted in 30 weeks of consecutive same-store sales growth under his leadership.

“I am incredibly energized and honored to be joining the Blaze Pizza team,” said Guajardo. “This is an exciting time for the brand, and I’m eager to continue the initiatives underway

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