John Mendel has resigned as COO of Mazda North American Operations.
Mendel is going to work for an unnamed competitor. He is not expected to announce details until Dec. 1. His last day with Mazda was Nov. 11.
Mazda spokesman Jay Amestoy said that no replacement has been named, nor have candidates been identified.
"It was rather sudden. We had not anticipated it," Amestoy said.
Mendel could not be reached for comment.
As COO, Mendel reported to president and CEO James OSullivan.
Before taking the role of COO, Mendel on Jan. 1, 2002, became executive vice president of sales and marketing, customer service and parts at Mazda North American Operations. Before that, he was marketing director for Ford of Britain, a position he had since 1999.
Mendel joined Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. operations in 1976 and has held several sales and marketing positions at Lincoln Mercury and Ford Customer Service, including regional operations manager in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.