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Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) president Stephen (Steve) Harper is today stepping down from the position to take early retirement.

This decision follows an injury which will require lengthy recuperation.

Mr Harper has spent 35 years in the Toyota family in Australia - beginning in 1975 with the then Toyota commercial vehicle importer/distributor Thiess Toyota.

He went on to serve 20 years with the Toyota automotive company and 15 years with Toyota Material Handling - increasing growth at every available opportunity.

From 2003 to 2005 Mr Harper was instrumental in the acquisition of eight major businesses which formed Toyota Industries Corporation Australia (TICA) - now known as TMHA.

He became director of all business acquisitions as well as sitting on the board of TMHA.

The company currently enjoys market leadership (based on Australian Industrial Truck Association results) through the sales, hire and service of Toyota, BT and Raymond product in Australia.

TMHA was the first Toyota group company globally to distribute all three Toyota group company products.

"The past seven years have been very challenging but very rewarding as we transitioned through all our acquisitions," Mr Harper said.

"Implementing cultural change within those businesses was no easy task. However, I must say to the credit of all TMHA team members that the transition phase was not as long as first envisaged.

"It has been a privilege and a pleasure working with the team at TMHA around Australia including its independent dealers and agents - their support has been instrumental in the success of TMHA."

Mr Harper said he looked back fondly on 28 years of service and at the mentors he had during his time within the Toyota automotive company, TMCA.

"That experience and knowledge were the foundation of my career within TMHA," he said.

"TMHA will continue to be the envy of the material handling industry as it embarks on new strategies that will again influence change and produce even greater results in the future.

"The TMHA team is diverse in so many ways - and that will make it extremely difficult for competitors to keep up with TMHA's innovation and self-sustaining success," Mr Harper said.

"To the lifetime of business partners, I thank you all for your strong support and commitment to Toyota."

Chairman of TMHA Terry Unnai said that Mr Harper had been instrumental in the setting up of TMHA in Australia.

"Steve's retirement from TMHA marks the end of an era and we extend our very best wishes to him and his wife Louise for a long and fulfilling retirement," Mr Unnai said.

For further information, contact:
TMHA general manager - national corporate services, Nick Shepherd, on 02 8706-6200.


Toyota Material Handling Australia president Stephen Harper, who steps down from the position today (October 1).