Toyota’s diversity drive veers off-road as Julie Hamp quits

July 1, 2015, 8:39 AM UTC

Toyota Motor Corp (TOYOF) said on Wednesday Julie Hamp, its first female managing offer, had resigned following her arrest last month on suspicion of illegally importing the painkiller oxycodone into Japan.

The American, who in April had become chief communications officer, notified Toyota of her intent to resign, the automaker said in a statement, adding that it had accepted after “considering the concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused our stakeholders”.

Toyota declined to give further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Hamp was arrested on June 18 after customs officials found tablets of oxycodone in a parcel shipped to her from the United States. Hamp said she did not think she had imported an illegal substance, according to the police.

Oxycodone is a prescription drug in both the United States and Japan. Bringing it into Japan requires prior approval from the government and it must be carried by the individual.

Following Hamp’s arrest, Toyota said it believed that she had no intent of breaking the law.

Hamp was appointed managing officer as part of a drive to diversify Toyota’s male-dominated, mostly Japanese executive line-up.

She joined Toyota’s North American unit in 2012 and in June relocated to Tokyo, where she was to be based.

“We remain firmly committed to putting the right people in the right places, regardless of nationality, gender, age and other factors,” Toyota said in its statement on Wednesday.