TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp. has appointed Masamichi Kogai its next CEO. The production and purchasing specialist replaces Takashi Yamanouchi, who led the carmaker to its first annual profit in five years.
The promotion takes effect pending approval at the Japanese company's June 25 annual shareholders' meeting, Mazda said in a May 9 statement. Yamanouchi, 68, will retain his chairman title.
Kogai takes the helm after leading the company's crucial makeover toward more cost-efficient manufacturing, dubbed "mono-tsukuri" by Mazda. The overhaul was key to making export-dependent Mazda profitable despite unfavorable exchange rates.
After years of revamping domestic assembly lines, partly to streamline manufacturing for the company's new line of Skyactiv engines, transmissions and chassis technologies, Mazda says it is now able to be profitable with the yen at 75 to the dollar. The current rate is about 99.
As assistant to outgoing mono-tsukuri head Seita Kanai, Kogai played a big role in remaking Mazda as a leaner carmaker. Kanai, who previously was in charge of global r&d and helped spearhead the Skyactiv push, will also be a vice chairman.