LOS ANGELES -- Mazda North American Operations named a regional manager as its new U.S. sales chief and created a new position to chart retail strategy as part of an executive shuffle announced this week.
Ron Stettner, Mazda's Midwest general manager, is now vice president of sales. He takes over an operation that recorded a 15 percent U.S. sales gain in the first half of the year in a market that rose 17 percent.
Mazda also said it appointed Mike Nakashima, most recently director of marketing, to the new retail strategy post. That move was effective May 1.
Nakashima's former position will be filled by John Abel, who was general manager of global brand management for Mazda Motor Corp. in Hiroshima, Japan. Abel, 49, will relocate to the automaker's North American headquarters in Irvine, Calif.
Stettner, the new sales chief, replaces Eric Johnston, 43, who was named vice president of strategic planning and market integration. He, in turn, succeeds Nobuyuki “Nick” Sato. Sato, 48, is now on special assignment as an assistant to Don Romano, president of Mazda Canada Inc. and chief marketing officer for North America.
Sato will also report directly to North American CEO Jim O'Sullivan and COO Keishi Egawa.
All moves except Nakashima's took effect July 1.
Mazda said it hasn't yet announced Stettner's replacement as Midwest regional manager.