Subaru of America said Tomohiko Ikeda, who steered the automaker to the industrys only U.S. sales gain last year, is being promoted to a senior post in Japan.
He will be replaced as CEO by Yoshio Hasunuma, 56 , senior vice president of Subaru global marketing. Ikeda will become corporate senior vice president at parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. The appointments are effective April 16.
Ikeda, a 32-year veteran of Subaru, took the CEO post in April 2007. He launched a redesigned Forester crossover and Impreza compact car -- vehicles that fueled Subarus 0.3 percent increase in 2008 sales compared with a year earlier. No other company boosted sales last year as U.S. demand fell 18 percent.
Subaru has also posted a 4.5 percent sales gain through two months of this year while the industry plunged 39.4 percent. Its incentive spending was relatively low, an average of $726 per vehicle in February, according to Edmunds.com.
Spokesman Michael McHale said he couldnt provide Ikedas age beyond saying he was 54 last year.
Hasunuma is a 30-year veteran of parent Fuji Heavy Industries. He was previously corporate vice president of sales and marketing for Subaru of Japan and held various planning and domestic sales positions.