LOS ANGELES -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Marubeni Corporation announces that effective April 1, Atsushi Suzuki will be promoted to General Manager of Marubeni Automotive Department-I and will relocate from Westlake’s Los Angeles headquarters to Japan for his new role. Marubeni Corp. owns a 20 percent stake in Westlake Financial Services and two seats on the Westlake board. Mr. Suzuki is currently a member of the board at Westlake as well as President and CEO of Marubeni Auto Investment (USA) Holding. Mr. Suzuki will remain on Westlake’s board of directors after moving to Japan.
Mr. Suzuki’s new role at Marubeni Automotive Department-I will involve overseeing automotive business in North and South American countries (including the United States), China, and India.
Eiichiro Ito will assume Mr. Suzuki’s role in Los Angeles. Mr. Ito currently serves as Executive Vice President and member of the board at Kencana Internusa Artha (KITA) Finance in Indonesia which is 49% owned by Marubeni Corp. Mr. Ito will take the second Marubeni seat on Westlake’s board from Nobuyuki Mokkoh, who will continue to support business development of Westlake from New York. Mr. Mokkoh is from Marubeni America Corp.
“Suzuki-san has helped take Westlake to a new level,” says Don Hankey, Westlake’s Founder and Chairman. “Marubeni enabled Westlake to double our balance sheet equity in 2011 and Suzuki quickly became involved with all our departments. Suzuki-san was always able to motivate and encourage Westlake management in a positive way. Bottom Line: Suzuki was able to put together a perfect marriage between Marubeni and Westlake and will certainly be missed!
“We look forward to working with Ito-san. Ito-san’s international finance experience should help Westlake continue our growth in revenue and profit,” Mr. Hankey concludes.
“Suzuki-san brought a fresh perspective to Westlake. His contributions helped strengthen not only our balance sheet, but also our corporate culture,” adds Ian Anderson, Westlake President. “Suzuki-san helped develop Westlake’s growth strategy, which will continue to push Westlake as a diversified financial services leader, serving the underserved market. We are thankful Suzuki-san will remain on Westlake’s board as we continue to strive towards our goals in the coming years. At the same time, we welcome Mr. Ito to the team and cannot wait to see him put his finance expertise to work at Westlake.”
“I have mixed feelings about leaving Los Angeles,” Mr. Suzuki says. “Westlake feels like home now. People are open and there is a creative energy here. I have enjoyed working with everyone and wish to thank all the executives and employees who have made me feel so welcome.”
Mr. Suzuki will work closely with Mr. Ito during the transition process. Mr. Ito joined Marubeni Corporation in 1988 and has been involved in international business in various countries including Brazil and Indonesia. “His dedication to the business is outstanding and he will bring his finance expertise to Westlake. I am confident he will be a great fit,” Suzuki says.
“I am very impressed with Westlake’s business model,” says Mr. Ito. “Westlake is much more systematic and on a much bigger scale than my current position in Indonesia. I would like to express gratitude for the opportunity to join Westlake and look forward to contributing to Westlake’s continued success.”
About Westlake Financial Services: Westlake Financial Services is an internet based, privately held finance company that specializes in the acquisition and servicing of sub-prime to prime automotive retail installment contracts. Headquartered in Southern California, Westlake originates indirect retail installment contracts through a network of over 15,000 new and used car dealers throughout the United States. Westlake also offers portfolio purchasing through their ALPS division (Advanced Lending & Portfolio Services). Direct to consumer title loans and unsecured loans are done through Westlake’s wholly owned subsidiary, Wilshire Consumer Credit. Westlake dealers can also apply for flooring credit through Westlake Flooring Services. All collections and servicing are performed in-house from its central facility located in the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles.
About Marubeni Corporation: Founded in 1858, Marubeni handles products in a broad range of sectors such as food materials, food products, textiles, materials, pulp and paper, chemicals, energy, metals and mineral resources, and transportation machinery, including offshore trading. The Company's activities also extend to power projects and infrastructure, plants and industrial machinery, finance, logistics and information industry, and real estate development and construction. Additionally, Marubeni conducts business investment, development and management on a global level. Marubeni has 57 overseas branches and offices and 32 overseas corporate subsidiaries with 62 offices for a total of 119 offices in 69 countries/areas. As to automotive activities, Marubeni is one of the biggest auto retailers in the world and operates 15 dealerships in the U.S. including such brand as BMW, Land Rover, Jaguar, Acura, Honda, Volvo, Mazda, and Volkswagen. Marubeni also operates auto retail finance companies in Indonesia, Chile and the U.S. For more information, visit www.marubeni.com.