After six years as the chairman of the board at Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), 71- year old Osamu Masuko, has officially resigned from his post. According to MMC, Masuko resigned due to health reasons and has handed the role to CEO Takao Kato to temporarily fill in his post. MMC did not specify what Masuko was ailing from, only citing “health reasons”.
Despite resigning from the chairman position, he will continue to work for MMC as a special adviser by “fully leveraging his knowledge and experience”. Prior to being a special adviser, Masuko has been a veteran at the Mitsubishi Corporation conglomerate. He first joined Mitsubishi Corporation (the entire entity) in April 1972. It wasn’t until 2004 did he join MMC as a managing director and was appointed president in 2005. He assumed chairman of the company in 2014.
During his time as president and CEO, Masuko led the company in various areas including the introduction of EVs and PHEVs, as well as the expansion of production and sales in the ASEAN region. But possibly his most important role was overseeing the creation of the partnership between MMC and Nissan in 2016. For reference, this was when Nissan took a 34% controlling stake in the company for USD 2.2 billion. It also resulted in the company joining the Renault-Nissan alliance as a junior partner. The deal was made between Masuko and former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.
At the moment, there is no word who will be replacing Masuko as the new chairman of Mitsubishi Motors. As mentioned earlier, CEO Takao Kato will temporarily cover the duties until a new chairman is elected. Whoever is appointed, the new chairman will certainly have his hands full in leading the company through these tough times.