Honda Shuffles the North American Deck as Top Execs Retire

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
honda shuffles the north american deck as top execs retire

Captain of industry John Mendel is retiring as the executive vice president of American Honda’s sales division this April, following ten years of service to the company. Mendel is probably best-known for ensuring that Honda and Acura’s marketing and sales focus remained on North America’s retail markets, not fleets.

Also retiring this spring is Honda Canada’s current president and 42-year company veteran, Jerry Chenkin. Filling the vacuum created in Chenkin’s absence is Dave Gardner, currently senior vice president and future president. Gardner will assume the role of president and provide direct oversight for the automotive and motorcycle divisions, power equipment, ATV, and small engine businesses.

Chenkin emigrated from England to join Honda Canada in 1975, overseeing Honda’s growth from an importer of motorcycles and rust-happy first-gen Civics to the supper-massive multinational conglomerate that we all know it as today. Chenkin also serves as a board member for Honda’s North American regional operations, which oversees business development for the entire continent.

Meanwhile, America’s Mendel will be succeeded by Jeff Conrad, general manager of the Honda division and soon-to-be head of the currently troubled Acura, too. With the exception of the problematic luxury brand and leftover Takata drama, Mendel is leaving the automaker on a high note. After clawing out of a recession-induced slump, Honda had a record sales years in 2015, 2016, and predicts more of the same for 2017.

According to Bloomberg, Mendel plans to start a distillery business with his sons.

Prior to joining the ranks of American Honda, Mendel spent almost three decades with the Ford Motor Company, eventually serving as its executive vice president and chief operating officer for its Mazda operations in North America. He came to American Honda in December 2004 and was promoted to executive vice president in 2007.

Honda also noted in its extensive executive transition announcement that Masayuki Igarashi will become the executive vice president for auto operations and export sales at American Honda. Igarashi currently serves as the chief operating officer for North America’s power product operations.

[Image: Honda Motors]

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  • Indi500fan Indi500fan on Feb 21, 2017

    Honda sales jobs probably aren't as lucrative as the old days....when dealers like Hendrick would drop off briefcases with half a mil in cash for franchises and favorable allotments.

  • Ranny Ranny on Feb 21, 2017

    Pity there aren't some retirements in the styling department. The new Civic is certainly no thing of beauty.

    • B.C. B.C. on Feb 22, 2017

      The Civic's fake grilles irritate me to no end, especially on the hatchback.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂