Honda Motor Co to appoint R&D chief Toshiba Mibe as new CEO

Honda Motor’s Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo would step down and Toshihiro Mibe of the automaker’s research and development arm will be appointed as the new CEO on April 1.

Hachigo will hold his position as company’s board member, Japan’s second-biggest automaker by sales said in a statement.

Mibe, 59, joined Honda in 1987, with stints in engine development and the drivetrain business. He became the president of Honda’s R&D unit in 2019, working with Hachigo to push through structural reforms.

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.

Honda is known for its fuel-efficient internal-combustion engines, Honda launched its first mass-produced all-battery vehicle last August. It has said it wants new-energy vehicles such as plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell cars to make up two-thirds of its sales by 2030.

The two executives will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. (0800 GMT).

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 Co to include cooperation in developing electric and autonomous vehicles.

Honda last year said it would stop participating as an engine supplier in the FIA Formula One World Championship at the end of the 2021 season, to focus on zero emission technology.

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