Deliverer of Lifelines, Former Mitsubishi CEO Masuko Dies at 71

deliverer of lifelines former mitsubishi ceo masuko dies at 71

Osamu Masuko, the longtime Mitsubishi Motors boss who guided his company through turbulent waters, helped craft an alliance with Nissan and partner Renault, only to find his ship back in storm-tossed seas, has died just three weeks after his unexpected departure.

Masuko died on Thursday, aged 71, Japanese media reports. The former chairman announced his resignation on August 7th.

What wasn’t mentioned in Mitsubishi’s official send-off to Masuko, who joined Mitsubishi Motors in 2004 before becoming its president a year later, was that the executive was in seriously declining health, though health was indeed listed as the reason for his resignation. His cause of death is listed as heart failure.

“On behalf of the deceased former Chairman, Mr. Masuko, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the generosity that he and MMC received,” said current CEO Takao Kato in a statement.

First tasked with turning around a serious quality and PR issue, Masuko’s tenure saw the executive bolster the brand’s standing (and manufacturing presence) in the Southeast Asia region — a key market for the automaker’s future. Named CEO and chairman in 2014, he helped bring the struggling company into the Renault-Nissan Alliance, thus ensuring access to new technologies and platforms. At the same time, he championed the development of electrified vehicles like the Outlander PHEV.

His presence during the 2018 arrest of Carlos Ghosn — and the alliance-rocking drama that followed — was no doubt reassuring to Mitsubishi employees. With the chairman hat swatted off Ghosn’s head by Japanese authorities, Masuko donned it once again, helping his company craft a going-forward plan designed to shore up its financial foundation. With the automaker’s prior growth plan not exactly panning out in north America and Europe, the Mitsubishi brand, much like its alliance partners, will focus on its strengths in receptive markets.

Masuko was succeeded as CEO last year by Kato, but remained in the chairman role.

“His wisdom and foresight will remain as an inspiration to the automotive industry, and we will always honor his memory,” said Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida in a statement.

[Image: Nissan]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Aug 31, 2020

    "has died just three weeks after his unexpected departure" My one grandfather died a few weeks after he retired (BF Goodrich). Make those life choices carefully.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Aug 31, 2020

    Please accept my deepest condolences. Not a good omen for Mitsubishi though. For Nissan as well.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.