TOKYO - Help wanted: Prestigious Japanese auto-industry trade group needs chairman. All reasonable candidates considered.
(All eminent ones already have said no.)
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association hasn't yet placed that ad anywhere, but it may have to. The group faces a predicament: Chairman Yoshifumi Tsuji, who also is chairman of Nissan Motor Co., plans to retire in June, and nobody wants the job.
Traditionally, the top executive at Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan alternate in the post. Toyota Chairman Hiroshi Okuda should take it next.
Okuda, though, already is chairman of Nikkeiren, the powerful Japan Federation of Employers Associations. He does not want to name another Toyota executive in his place, either.
Toyota Vice Chairman Iwao Isomura is head of the Nagoya Chamber of Commerce. And if Toyota President Fujio Cho stepped in, then Toyota's three top executives would be tied down with association tasks, leaving no one to mind the store.
So in a break with the past, Okuda wants to give the job to Honda Motor Co. President Hiroyuki Yoshino. After all, he argues, Honda is one of the big boys now. Its Japan production in the first half of the fiscal year, April through September, surpassed Nissan's.
No thanks, Yoshino says. He views JAMA's time-consuming bureaucratic details as a potential distraction.
A decision must come by May.
Has anyone called Renault SA Chairman Louis Schweitzer?