Mazda Motor Corporation says Takashi Yamanouchi will retire as the chairman of the board and representative director, ending his 47-year career with the Japanese automaker.

Yamanouchi also served as Mazda’s president and CEO between 2008 and 2013. He will be replaced by Seita Kanai, who is currently the vice chairman and representative director.

Masamichi Kogai, Mazda’s current president and chief executive officer, commended Yamanouchi’s leadership, particularly during the global economic crisis in 2008.

“To break with the company’s history of repeated ups and downs as a result of fluctuations in the exchange rate and changes in the market environment, Mr. Yamanouchi took the lead to formulate and implement a structural reform plan, thus restructuring and reinforcing the company’s overseas production, including opening a new plant in Mexico and promoting global alliances,” said Kogai in a press release.

Yamanouchi also concentrated on establishing Mazda’s uniqueness through the company’s SKYACTIV technology and KODO – Soul of Motion design.

Furthermore, Kogai said Yamanouchi reformed the company’s entire business that resulted in Mazda’s growth.

“By leveraging Mazda’s distinctiveness and competitive edge, he vigorously promoted the reform of the company’s entire business, innovations in sales and strengthening of the brand, laying the foundation for Mazda’s revitalization and sustainable growth,” Kogai added.

The retirement of Yamanouchi and the transition of leadership will go into effect after the company’s general meeting of shareholders on June 24, 2014.