Automobile

Meet the Canadian who’s building a company for Toyota

“Our primary goal is, first and foremost, to make Toyota successful,” Kaiya said. But in 10 years’ time, she envisions even grander achievements.

“I hope to see Woven as a strong, globally recognized software company that has not only made Toyota extremely successful but has managed to scale our products and our platform, even beyond Toyota.”

Kaiya’s appointment also reinforces Woven Planet’s international profile and personality.

The Canadian COO joins American CEO James Kuffner at the helm of a nontraditional Japanese company based in a downtown Tokyo high-rise. Woven Planet patterns itself after nimble Silicon Valley startups, not the staid but storied old-school giants that underpin Japan Inc.

At Woven, English is the working language, a rarity for any company in Japan, let alone a subsidiary of Toyota — arguably the bluest of Japanese blue chips.

Kaiya, who started July 1 at the fast-growing Toyota subsidiary, was recruited from German software giant SAP, where she held a number of positions in various postings in North America, Europe and Asia. Among her roles was chief of staff for the CEO office and, most recently, head of innovation strategy and R&D for SAP’s Asia, Pacific and Japan operations.

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