CEO, Asia: TAKANOBU ITO, President, Honda Motor Co.
After a dismal year in which sales were hammered by the earthquake in Japan and the redesigned Civic drew lackluster reviews, Takanobu Ito, 59, put Honda back on track for growth. Behind the scenes, Ito was overhauling the company's drivetrain lineup and devising new products to breathe life back into the company. He ordered a quick redo of the Civic, resurrected the NSX sports car, jazzed up the Acura brand, introduced a regionalized product development strategy that hands power to local markets and approved a clean-sheet revival of the Accord with a new engine, platform, transmission and suspension. Oh, and he unveiled a new target: a 50 percent surge in global sales to 6 million vehicles in the next four years. He expects North American volume to climb 19 percent to 2 million units by 2016.