By on August 7, 2020

Image: Nissan

A longtime presence at the top of Mitsubishi Motors departed his post Friday morning, marking the end of an era for the embattled Japanese automaker. Company Chairman Osamu Masuko, 71, resigned effective immediately today, following a six-year tenure at the top of a company he joined in 1972.

Masuko, who rose to become president of the company in 2005 and CEO in 2014, cited health reasons for his sudden departure.

He’ll stay on a special advisor, Mitsubishi said, with his former role temporarily filled by CEO Takao Kato.

“During his tenure as the president and CEO, Masuko led the company in various areas including the introduction of advanced eco conscious vehicles such as EV and PHEV, as well as the expansion of production and sales in the ASEAN region. Masuko is going to support MMC as a special advisor by fully leveraging his knowledge and experience,” the automaker said in tribute.

Masuko’s final years at Mitsubishi were marked by a crisis not of Mitsu’s making: the shock waves that rippled through the expanded alliance forged with Nissan and Renault in 2016 following the arrest of alliance boss (and Mitsubishi chairman) Carlos Ghosn in November 2018. Masuko stepped in to resume the chairman duties he vacated to Ghosn two years earlier, lending the company a measure of stability as tensions flared between Nissan and Renault.

In his own company, Mitsu’s 2017 “Drive for Growth” plan hit a snag as global volume and market share failed to achieve the goals set out at the outset of the three-year plan. Under the new leadership of Kato, and in response to both the growth plan’s partial failure and the sales-sinking pandemic, Mitsubishi changed course this year, positioning itself for a smaller future.

The new plan will see the automaker focus primarily on its home market and the growth region of Southeast Asia, reducing its investment in markets like Europe and North America. Already, the company has said it will freeze new product headed for Europe. The brand’s North American future looks dire, despite a range of refreshed 2021 product bound for these shores.

[Image: Mitsubishi]

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8 Comments on “Mitsubishi Chairman Osamu Masuko Abruptly Resigns...”

  • avatar

    I’m sorry but Mitsubishi’s fate is entirely their own doing. After 2004 or so they stopped trying to build anything competitive for advanced markets.

    Junk outdated product, junk dealers, and a minimal lineup.

    Aside from a SE Asia small cars and truck presence, kill them everywhere else and let Nissan fill in the gaps.

    At least they make fine air conditioners.

    • 0 avatar

      AC? I haven’t seen one. I personally installed Lennox combo (heater-AC, web connected) and before that it was Carrier. No one offered Mitsu.

    • 0 avatar

      Mitsubishi Motors is a place you normally end up when you fail out within the Mitsubishi conglomerate. You don’t exactly get the cream of the crop, and Mr. Masuko, unfortunately, was no exception. When the head of an automobile company has never had a driver’s license, you know you are screwed.

      Masuko repeatedly said that he never understood why car development had to cost so much R&D, so a lot of long term R&D was frozen under his watch. The guy also seemed bewildered by the public reaction to Mitsubishi’s defect cover-up (and the later emissions cover-up).

      Yup, Mitsubishi’s failure is entirely its own doing.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        An old saying is that ‘a fish rots from the head down’. It is the same with a corporation. Ford, GM, Chrysler, Mitsu. All suffering from or suffered from bad senior management.

        As for Lennox, their HVAC products are also quite popular in Canada.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    RE; the photo of Masuko and Goshn.

    Like good Soviet Stalinist purges, appearing chummy in a photo with a disgraced leader was a quick way to end a political career.
    Perhaps even earn a one way ticket to a gulag.

  • avatar

    It’s fitting that Nissan partnered up with Mitsubishi, since they both now make garbage cars.

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