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Honda CEO to step down, hands reins to head of R&D

Toshihiro Mibe has been with Honda since 1987.

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NEW DELHI: Honda Motor Co’s chief executive officer Takahiro Hachigo will step down in April 2021. He will be replaced by Toshihiro Mibe, head of the automaker’s research and development (R&D) arm.

Hachigo will stay on as a director at the company. During his six years as CEO, Hachigo sought to simplify the vehicle development process by combining some operations for cars and motorcycles. He also slashed costs by streamlining Honda's model line-up and consolidating factories at home and overseas.

Hachigo also expanded a partnership with General Motors to include cooperation in developing electric and autonomous vehicles.

Mibe's appointment comes as Honda races to catch up in the field of all-electric cars and faces competition from new entrants and tech giants such as Tesla, Apple and Amazon.

59-year-old Mibe has been president of the R&D unit since 2019, following stints in engine development and the drive-train business after joining the company in 1987. He is credited with pushing through several structural reforms at the company.

“We would consider using external insight or potential alliances among other actions to make decisions without hesitation,” Mibe told a news conference at which he called for Honda’s “major transformation at great speed.”

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