TOKYO -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. President Osamu Masuko, who led the struggling carmaker to record profits and overhauled its product strategy, plans to hand off control April 1 to Managing Director Tetsuro Aikawa, Japan's Nikkei business daily reported Friday in Tokyo.
The Nikkei said Masuko is expected to serve as chairman and in a newly created chief executive officer post, while Aikawa will take on a newly created COO role.
Masuko will focus his attention on building partnerships with other automakers.
Mitsubishi issued a statement saying nothing has been decided.
Aikawa, 59, is an engineer noted for leading the development of such minicars as Mitsubishi's eK Wagon and the egg-shaped i runabout.
He joined Mitsubishi in 1978 and was promoted to its board of directors in 2005. He has also worked in domestic sales and manufacturing.
Since 2011, he has led Mitsubishi's global production division, overseeing the realignment of U.S. and Japanese plants.
The product and manufacturing overhaul included phasing out production of such U.S.-only models as the Eclipse, Endeavor and Galant at Mitsubishi's Normal, Ill., plant, and switching output there to the Outlander Sport small crossover, a key model sold by Mitsubishi worldwide.
Under Aikawa, the company has also consolidated its model lineup in Japan and rolled out a new minivehicle joint venture with Nissan Motor Co. at Mitsubishi's Mizushima factory.