Honda CEO Fukui Steps Aside

In the latest corner office adjustment, Japanese automaker Honda is tapping Takanobu Ito, its former R&D chief, to be its new leader
Senior managing director of Honda Motor Takanobu Ito (L) listens to President and CEO Takeo Fukui (R) during a press conference on February 23, 2009. Ito will replace Fukui in June to struggle with falling sales amid the global economic downturn. TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

Another Japanese auto chief is moving aside. Amid plunging sales, Honda (HMC) President and CEO Takeo Fukui announced on Feb. 23 he will hand over leadership of the company to Takanobu Ito, chief of automobile operations, in June. The departure of Fukui, who has been boss at Honda for six years, is the latest of several corner office moves as Japanese car companies struggle to cope with dwindling sales in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China. In January, Toyota (TM) announced its decision to replace President Katsuaki Watanabe with Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder. In November, Mazda (MZDAF) said Takashi Yamanouchi would succeed Hisakazu Imazu. Legendary Nissan (NSANY) President Carlos Ghosn remains in the job but has relinquished some responsibilities recently as he balances leading the Japanese automaker and its major shareholder Renault of France.

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