Takanobu Ito is stepping down as Honda CEO in June

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 25, 2015

Takanobu Ito announced plans to step down as President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. He named Takahiro Hachigo, who currently heads the carmaker’s r&d, purchasing and production in China, as his successor. Hachigo will commence on his new role as president and chief executive. In a statement, Honda said Hachigo’s appointment will be confirmed during the carmaker’s annual shareholders’ meeting that month.

Honda named Ito as its CEO in 2009. Since then, Ito has been leading a carmaker beset by a number of challenges like the 2011 Japanese earthquake-tsunami disasters; a period when a strong yen eat on the carmaker’s profit; and a global recall of millions of vehicles fitted with possibly defective Takata airbags tied to six deaths.

No thanks to a series of recalls in Japan, Ito was forced to delay several product launches and overhaul the carmaker’s r&d strategy. The reforms that Ito has introduced are just beginning to take shape, and Hachigo vowed to continue what his predecessor has started. For instance, Ito retooled the r&d division to slow development, add extra quality checks and cut the onerous workload -- all just disclosed in 2014.

Also currently underway is Ito’s plans to delegate power and responsibility to six global hubs for local output and r&d. Hachigo’s appointment to become Honda’s top man means naming an executive boasting of ample international experience in the United States, Europe and China.

“I believe this is a good opportunity to revamp our entire operations,” Ito remarked, adding that he chose Hachigo as he was a key player in setting up the six regional hubs. Ito said that Honda is ready to make a “huge leap forward” this year.

Ito’s exit from Honda came as a surprise partly since his reforms were just gaining traction and a number of observers thought he would remain on his post to see his make sure that his projects goes through.

Topics: honda, ceo

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