Mitsubishi's CEO Is Packing It In
After seeing its fortunes switch from dire to promising over the past few years, Mitsubishi Motors will gain a new chief operating officer on June 21. On Friday, the automaker announced that Osamu Masuko plans to step down as CEO, five years after taking on the job.
Under Masuko’s watch, the automaker rekindled its North American business and entered the Renault-Nissan Alliance, ensuring cost-effective technology and platform sharing in the years ahead.
Replacing Masuko in the big chair is Takao Kato, head of the automaker’s Indonesian operations.
It won’t be a complete departure for the current CEO. Masuko will remain as the company’s chairman, a position he accepted last fall following the removal of former alliance head Carlos Ghosn. At the time, Masuko said, “We believe the alliance is needed,” adding, “Where the three companies are headed is not confrontation.”
Masuko attained the position of president of Mitsubishi Motors in 2005.
While the brand’s comeback in the U.S. is well underway (despite a continued lack of new models, Eclipse Cross notwithstanding), the automaker remains on rocky financial ground — a position not unfamiliar to other automakers, including alliance partner Nissan. Trade issues, a slowing Western auto market, required investments in new technology, and a societal shift away from passenger cars are all weighing heavily on the company.
As reported by Reuters, Mitsubishi expects falling profits this year as it attempts to reposition itself for the coming decade.
Masuko and Kato will speak at a press conference on May 20th, the automaker said.