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Mazda Announces New CEO

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May 14, 2018—Mazda Motor Corp. recently named Akira Marumoto its next CEO, in an attempt to spur earnings growth in the midst of a slowing U.S. market. Marumoto will replace Masamichi Kogai after the change is ratified at a shareholder meeting on June 26, Mazda announced last Friday.

Kogai will become chairman following a five year stretch in which he helped orchestrate deeper ties with Toyota, as noted in a Bloomberg report. The leadership change comes amid a paradigm shift in the auto industry toward self-driving, connected and electric cars, and the rise of China’s importance as the U.S. auto market shrinks. 

Marumoto will oversee a goal of raising annual sales to 2 million vehicles by 2024, up from around 1.6 million currently. Marumoto views it of vital importance to increase sales in the U.S.

“I’ve been overseeing the North American market for three years and the region has been causing concerns in terms of both profitability and branding,’’ Marumoto said recently, according to Bloomberg. “The U.S. is the highest priority.’’

Mazda has recently tightened ties with Toyota, which included technology sharing, and the companies are building a joint assembly plant in the U.S., where Mazda currently has no factories.

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