Honda's Tom Elliott, above, will be replaced by John Mendel.
Elliott, 62, will be replaced by John Mendel, 50, who unexpectedly quit as COO of Mazda's North American Operations in mid-November.
Elliott is American Honda Motor Co. Inc.'s executive vice president of automobile operations. He is in charge of product planning, advertising, marketing, public relations and distribution for Honda and Acura vehicles.
Mendel is a 28-year Ford Motor Co. veteran who had risen through the marketing ranks. His career includes a stint as marketing director at Ford of Britain. At Mazda, he led the effort to get more dealers to build exclusive stores for the brand.
Mendel started at Honda on Wednesday, Dec. 1, as a senior vice president and will work alongside Elliott, a Honda spokesman says. Honda did not give a specific date for Elliott's retirement.
Over the past year, Elliott has presided over the launch of key products for Honda, including the redesigned Odyssey minivan and the next-generation Acura RL luxury sedan. He is expected to be on hand in January when Honda unveils the production Ridgeline pickup truck at the Detroit auto show.
Elliott joined Honda in 1970 as a sales assistant. He worked through a series of regional jobs until being appointed assistant vice president in 1980. Three years later he was named vice president of automobile operations. He was named to the American Honda board of directors in 1988 and joined the Honda North America board of directors in 1992.
Elliott has also been a key executive in Honda's racing programs in North America, spending several years as the automaker's point man in the Indy Racing League and the former Championship Auto Racing Teams series.
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