Hans Greimel of the Automotive News is reporting that Takanobu Ito will be replaced in June by Takahiro Hachigo as president and CEO of Honda Motor Company. Ito’s replacement comes after a spate of recalls in its home market of Japan led to a delay in a number of new product launches, followed by the even more image corroding recall of millions of cars worldwide due to Takata supplied airbags that can detonate which have been linked to six deaths.
At present, 20 Japanese executives are charged with price-fixing by the U.S. Department of Justice. Extradition, however, is proving hard to accomplish.
Two of the most reliable reporters on the automotive beat, Karl Henkel and David Shepardson of the Detroit News, have reported that their sources confirm that Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally will step down later this year and that Mark Fields, Ford’s chief operating officer, will be named to the CEO position. Earlier on Monday, Bloomberg News reported that Ford “may announce the moves as soon as May 1.” Ford’s annual corporate meeting is scheduled for May 8 in Delaware, with the FoMoCo board of directors meeting the prior day. Mulally, 68, has been with Ford since 2006 and he’s generally credited with successfully guiding the automaker through the troubled waters that brought crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler to bankruptcy and a government bailout.
The move is seen by most as a formality and that Fields, 53, has been assured of replacing Mulally since he was promoted from President of the Americas to COO in late 2012. Mulally has previously said publicly that he plans to remain as Ford’s CEO through at least 2014. Other than a stint at IBM, Fields has been at Ford for most of his adult life, having joined the company 25 years ago.
A Ford Motor Company spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the reports.
So that’s the boilerplate news. In the background of the story, though… (Read More…)
The C-Suites of two major auto makers are unlikely to change in the near future, despite rumors suggesting that both Ferdinand Piech and Alan Mulally are set to depart both VW and Ford respectively.
GM has announced its new North American organizational shuffle [full release available here], and have included the following slides to help explain some of the changes. The clear winner: President of NA operations, Mark Reuss, who had this to say:
It’s become extremely clear to me since taking this role that there is a better way to structure this organization. The premise of the structure is simple — a clearer marketing focus to sell more vehicles, and freeing our sales and service experts to focus on customers and dealers. In order to be successful in North America, we need the right mix of product, people and structure. We’ve worked with a small group of executives to align this model and appoint the best candidates for each job.
Notice how he doesn’t call the new structure a simplification. As the following slides show, there’s nothing simple about the structure changes. In fact, the only thing that’s certain about this latest GM reshuffle is that wrestling with GM’s bureaucracy still takes up as much time for top managers as actually working on products, planning, outreach and other core business activities.
Motor Trend reports that former PT Cruiser stylist Brian Nesbitt has been relieved of his duties as the head of Cadillac, ending GM’s post-bankruptcy experiment of putting a stylist in charge of an entire division. But MT figures that Nesbitt’s ouster isn’t as simple as a failure to perform; according to their sources, the firing was political.
The shakeup has major implications for Bob Lutz’s future at GM. He hired Nesbitt away from Chrysler earlier last decade and made sure there was a place for the PT Cruiser designer at post-bankruptcy GM. Nesbitt’s departure would indicate Lutz’s role as one of three GM vice chairmen has diminished to almost nothing… Clearly, [recently-promoted sales boss and President of North American ops Mark Reuss] is putting his own team together, and it doesn’t include Nesbitt, who was posed as the aesthetic face of the Cadillac luxury division.