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Honda Promotes First-Ever Female Operating Officer

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Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo at the Detroit Auto Show

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo at the Detroit Auto Show

In an effort to further diversify its top executives, Honda Motor Co. today named its first-ever female operating officer, Asako Suzuki.

Suzuki is presently the president of Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., one of the Japanese automaker’s joint ventures in China. When she assumes the role of operating officer this April, Suzuki will become the first female senior executive promoted within Honda’s internal ranks.

This move is also notable for being Honda’s first top-level reshuffling since Takahiro Hachigo became CEO last year. Hachigo also named a new executive vice president who will begin in June, as well as a new head of Honda’s Research & Development Center, who is expected to help the automaker avoid another spat of major recalls.

Though this is the company’s first female senior executive, it is not the only effort Honda has made to diversify its ranks in recent years. The company named its first foreign operating officer, a Brazilian of Japanese descent, in 2014, which was also the same year that it appointed a female board member from outside the company. In 2015, Honda also brought in a female auditor.

CEO Takahiro Hachigo is expected to hold a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, in which he will reveal several other changes for the car company. According to Business Insider, the changes will be aimed at reducing the influence of sales and marketing teams on vehicle development, in order to produce fewer cars that seem to be “designed by committee.”