Mazda Motor Corporation’s Board of Directors have announced a myriad of internal personnel changes today, the most prominent being current Representative Director President and CEO Akira Marumoto stepping down into a role as a senior advisor to make way for Masahiro Moro – a veteran of Mazda for 40 years.

Mazda Motor Corporation is a Japanese automaker with over a century’s experience in autos. Despite its roots, 86% of Mazda’s sales come from outside of Japan and 36% come from North America alone. A large reason for the automaker’s success on this continent has been through the efforts of Masahiro Moro, who first joined in 1983 when Mazda was still going by Toyo Kogyo Co.

Moro ran Mazda in Europe from 2004 to 2008 and became president and CEO of Mazda Motor of America in 2016. During that tenure, Moro helped reform Mazda’s US dealer network and rebuild its profitability in the region.

As Mazda looks to transition a segment of its vehicles to electric powertrains by the end of the decade, Masahiro Moro is inheriting a tough role as CEO as sales have dipped and EV development has been less than ideal, but he has already shared a two-fold plan.

New Mazda CEO to prioritize larger vehicles, US sales

Mazda shared the full list of proposed personnel changes in a release today, which also includes current head of Mazda North America Jeffrey Guyton becoming the automaker’s global finance chief and a member of the parent company’s board.

After current Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto introduced his replacement to the media, Moro spoke about his two priorities looking forward:

We want to bring fresh eyes to the company. One is to successfully roll out large products, which will be a major growth driver for putting the company on a growth trajectory.

The second is to implement company-wide cost reduction activities, including all supply chains and value chains, in order to further improve management efficiency going forward, so as to make our overall business more robust.

With Moro as Mazda’s new CEO, there will be a keener focus on the North American market, particularly the US, where larger SUVs and crossovers sell well. Mazda will look to electrify those options moving forward with hopes to regain some market share and reach its 2030 target of 25-40% of global sales being all-electric. Dream big, guys.

Last November, Mazda announced an $11 billion investment in electrification on top of pre-existing plans to make all of its production facilities carbon neutral by 2035. Combustion vehicles still contribute to 99.9% of Mazda’s sales, however, so it better get a move on.

The automaker states the aforementioned investment could enable EV production on US soil as early as 2026-2027, meaning those particular EVs may qualify for federal tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act.

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