Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko to step down (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors, is all set to step down from his role as chief executive (CEO) on June 21. However, he will stay with the automaker as its chairman. Masuko will be replaced by Takao Kato, who is president of its operations in Indonesia.
In a statement, Mitsubishi Motors said that Masuko and Kato will hold a press conference on May 20 to discuss the changes.
Japan's sixth-largest automaker, in which Nissan Motor Co holds a controlling stake, said this month it expects profit to fall to 90.0 billion yen ($821 million) in the year to March as it navigates slowing demand for cars, global trade frictions and the need to develop new technologies.
Mitsubishi's partners Nissan and France's Renault are meanwhile grappling with the fallout from the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, the group's former chairman, who is facing charges of financial misconduct in Japan. Ghosn has denied all charges against him.
Coming back to Masuko, he has been with the Mitsubishi Motors since 1972 and was made president in 2007 before being elevated into the position of CEO in 2014. During his time as Mitsubishi's chief, Masuko has sought to refocus the company's limited development resources on crossover vehicles and emerging market vehicles.
This has meant axing the well-established Lancer line, and launching the Eclipse Cross, and the Xpander people mover. He also closed the company's only US factory in Normal, Illinois, which was eventually purcahsed by Rivian, a startup electric SUV and pickup truck maker.
On the other hand, Kato joined Mitsubishi in 1984 and has held many senior roles at the company's factory in Nagoya. He had spent four years in Russia before returning to Japan in 2014. Kato was made president of Mitsubishi Motors Indonesia in 2015.