Mitsubishi Motors has announced that its chief executive officer (CEO) Osamu Masuko will be stepping down after the company’s annual general shareholders meeting on June 21. Masuko will be replaced by Takao Kato, who is currently the president of Mitsubishi Motors Indonesia. Despite stepping down as CEO, Masuko will retain his role as chairman of the board.
Masuko is a 47-year veteran at Mitsubishi, having joined the company back in 1972. He became president in 2007 before elevating to the position of chairman and CEO in 2014. His successor, Kato, joined Mitsubishi Motors in 1984. Since then, he has held various positions in Russia and Nagoya, Japan before being appointed as president of Mitsubishi Motors Indonesia in 2015.
During his time as CEO, Masuko had driven the company to profit following years of losses. With the company’s limited resources, he focused development on crossover vehicles as well as emerging markets, leading to vehicles such as the Eclipse Cross and the Xpander. He was also the one sealed the deal of Mitsubishi joining Renault-Nissan, which led to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance we know today.
Meanwhile, Kato certainly has a lot on his plate as the upcoming CEO of Mitsubishi Motors. The alliance is still grappling with the issues surrounding the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, the group’s former chairman, who is facing charges of financial misconduct in Japan. Because of his arrest, this has led to a restructuring at Nissan in order to have better corporate governance.
It is likely that Masuko stepping down as CEO but still retaining his position of chairman is in line with Mitsubishi’s restructuring of its own governance system.