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Mazda Heads in New Direction with Personnel Changes

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Things are soon taking a turn for Mazda as they announce some executive personnel changes, which will go into effect on June 26 after ratification by the shareholders at a general meeting and the approval from the board of directors at a subsequent meeting.

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Current CEO Masamichi Kogai will step down from the presidential role he has held since 2013 and become Mazda’s chairman. Akira Marumoto, current vice president and overseer of operations in the Americas, will assume the role of Mazda’s president and CEO.

This change represents a focus on the brand’s expansion in North America, its biggest market accounting for nearly 30 percent of its total sales. However, the United States market has slowed recently, which is where Marumoto comes in with his desire to make the U.S. the highest priority.

“I’ve been overseeing the North American market for three years and the region has been causing concerns in terms of both profitability and branding,’’ Marumoto said at the Tokyo announcement briefing. With his expertise of the North American market, he is well-suited to lead Mazda through this expected revival in earnings growth.

Under Kogai, Mazda recently partnered with Toyota earlier this year in a joint venture to invest in a new $1.6 billion plant in Alabama. Together, they are developing affordable electric vehicles in an attempt to stay in the automotive race for new car technologies, despite Mazda being one of Japan’s smaller automakers.  With leadership being handed to Marumoto, Kogai trusts that his successor will continue to develop this relationship with Toyota.

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Sources: Bloomberg, Japan Today, Carscoops