Formby said he was retiring after nearly 33 years of service with Toyota to spend more time with his family in Southern California.
“I will leave behind many good friendships established in Mississippi and across North America over the past 33 years. I feel truly honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to finish my career here in NE Mississippi. It’s been wonderful to be ‘back in the South’ – only two hours away from my birthplace and extended family in Birmingham. Toyota really saved the best for last! ” he said in an email.
Formby, who officially took the reins at TMMMS in December, said he is “committed to finish the job strong,”
He replaced David Copenhaver, the first VP of administration at the plant, which produced its first car in October 2011. Copenhaver retired and lives in Tupelo with his wife.
Formby oversaw TMMMS’ transition to the new 11th-generation Corolla. The plant is on track to build 160,000 vehicles this year.
We spoke to Formby, who reiterated it was a bittersweet decision to move from a place he had grown to like very much.
“I would have loved to have stayed a few more years, but there comes a time when you have to sit back and look at what’s ahead of you,” he said.
Moving closer to their kids and grandkids in sunny SoCal was the overwhelming reason to move, he said.
After such a long career with Toyota and in the auto industry, Formby said he’s ready to take some time off, especially having spent some 1,800 days on the road during his career.
“I might ease back into something down the road,” he said, indicating consulting work as a distinct possibility.
Toyota has not officially announced a replacement for Formby.