Commencement Speaker

Jim Lentz, former CEO of Toyota Motor North America

Jim Lentz is the former chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America.

During his 38-year career at Toyota, Lentz oversaw all business for Toyota’s North American region, including manufacturing, research and development, sales, marketing, product support and corporate resources. Lentz’s vision of uniting all of Toyota’s affiliates across the U.S. culminated in moving the company’s regional headquarters to Plano, Texas in 2017.

Lentz led and contributed to a number of key milestones in Toyota’s history, including the launch of the Scion brand; recognition of Toyota and Lexus brands as leaders in customer experience; and successfully navigating the company through significant challenges such as the great earthquake and tsunami in Japan and one of the worst recessions in U.S. history.

Lentz served on the board of directors for Global Automakers, was chair of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and is a member of the executive advisory board for Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. He was also appointed to the board of directors for the Texas Economic Development Corporation by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

He was named Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age in 2006, an Automotive News All Star in 2007 and 2017 and Industry Leader of the Year in 2014 by the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Lentz earned both his undergraduate degree and M.B.A from the University of Denver. He retired from Toyota in April of this year.