Mazda Motor Corp. said in a press release that starting April 1, 2011, the 49-year-old financial specialist Akira Koga will be Mazda Motor Corp.’s No. 2 executive in North America, replacing Keishi Egawa who will return to Japan. Koga will serve as executive vice president of Mazda Motor of America Inc.
He will be based in Irvine, Calif., and will serve under the president and CEO of Mazda’s North American operations, James O’Sullivan. Koga is currently an executive officer in charge of corporate planning and he received a bachelor's degree in economics from Yamaguchi University in 1984.
He joined Mazda the same year. Koga, with his wavy mane of auburn-highlighted, shoulder-length hair, stands out in the no-nonsense world of Japanese executives. He is also an avid bicyclist and Miata driver who has owned all three generations of the sporty car.
Mazda, which seeks to gain more sales traction in the improved United States market, posted an 11 percent U.S. sales gain in 2010 over 2009 – the same as the overall market.
However, Mazda gained only 3 percent in U.S. sales in January 2011 and February 2011 over the same two months of 2010.
In those two months, the total U.S. market improved sales by 23 percent. Mazda’s strategic partner, Ford Motor Co., has been cutting its stake in recent years. In the fall of 2010, Ford cut its holding from 11 percent to 3.5 percent.