Honda CEO swapped

New CEO Takahiro Hachigo will start his new role in June this year

HONDA’S president and CEO Takanobu Ito is to be replaced by Takahiro Hachigo in June this year according to an official announcement from the firm.

The news comes just two weeks after news agency Reuters published a story suggesting there was an element within the firm’s board attempting to oust Ito in the wake of wide-ranging reforms he’s been making to the company. At the time, he was given a 70% likelihood of retaining his position as CEO for anther two-year term, but today’s news suggests his critics have won.

Ito, 61, who was one of the men behind the NSX supercar project in the late 1980s and early 90s, has been attempting to modernise Honda’s supply chain and reverse some of the recent perceptions – particularly on the four-wheeled side of the operation – that Honda has lost some of its spark. It’s under his rule that the firm has announced a new NSX hybrid supercar and made the decision to return to F1 racing.

As is traditional for former CEOs he will retain a place on the Honda board as a director and advisor, ironically lining up alongside the other former bosses who were reputed to have been campaigning for his removal.

His replacement, Takahiro Hachigo, 55, has been at Honda since 1982, originally working in R&D within the firm’s car division. Where Ito had run the NSX supercar project, Hachigo was in charge of developing the first-generation Odyssey minivan, aimed at the American market and launched in 1999 and later took charge of the second-generation CR-V SUV project. Neither seems quite as exciting as a supercar.

In 2004, Hachigo became Senior Vice President of Honda R&D Americas, Inc, before moving to Honda R&D Co., Ltd in 2006 as Operating Officer. He then moved into the purchasing division in 2008, ran the firm’s Suzuka plant from 2011 to 2012 and did a year as Vice President and Director of Honda Motor Europe from 2012-13. Most recently he’s been Vice President of Honda Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd and, since April 2014, Managing Officer of Honda Motor. He’ll stay in that role until June, when the switchover of CEOs is due to be rubber-stamped.

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