Mazda president to make way next month for younger managers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 May, 2013, 4:13am

Mazda Motor, Japan's most export-dependent carmaker, said this week that Takashi Yamanouchi will step down as president next month to make way for younger managers after the company returned to profitability.

Yamanouchi, 68, will be replaced by senior managing executive officer Masamichi Kogai, 58, as part of broader management moves that will take effect after the June 25 annual shareholders' meeting, the company said.

Mazda, which a year ago was reeling from its biggest loss in 11 years, said it delayed the executive changes because of its "financial situation".

"I want to go to the front line of R&D, production, and sales and see what people feel and think," Kogai told reporters in Tokyo on Thursday.

Mazda, which last month posted its first annual profit in five years, said net income may double to 70 billion yen (HK$5.48 billion) this fiscal year.

The company's share price has more than tripled in the past six months as the carmaker benefited from a weaker yen and demand for its CX-5 sport utility vehicle and Mazda 6.

Kogai joined Mazda in 1977 and oversees production and purchasing.

Yamanouchi, who has been president since 2008, will remain chairman, having overseen the company's transition to an independent carmaker after Ford Motor began cutting its stake.

Executive vice-president Seita Kanai, 63, will become vice-chairman, the company said.

"I'd like to hand over the work to younger people," Yamanouchi told reporters.