Mazda Motor Corporation, the Japanese automaker with over a century of experience in autos, has announced significant changes to its leadership team as it looks to transition to electric powertrains by the end of the decade. The most prominent change sees current Representative Director President and CEO Akira Marumoto stepping down to become a senior advisor, making way for Masahiro Moro, a veteran of the company for 40 years.
Moro has played a key role in Mazda's success in North America, where 36% of the company's sales come from. He helped reform Mazda's US dealer network and rebuild its profitability in the region during his tenure as president and CEO of Mazda Motor of America.
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As Mazda looks to electrify its larger SUVs and crossovers, Moro is inheriting a tough role as CEO. Sales have dipped, and the company's electric vehicle development has been less than ideal. However, Moro has already shared a two-fold plan for success.
“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,” Moro stated.
Jeffrey Guyton, the current head of Mazda North America, will become the automaker's global finance chief and a member of the parent company's board.
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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. While combustion vehicles still contribute to 99.9% of Mazda's sales, the company hopes to reach its 2030 target of 25-40% of global sales being all-electric. With the investment, Mazda could enable electric vehicle production on US soil as early as 2026-2027, potentially qualifying for federal tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act.
Moro's appointment as CEO signals a keener focus on the North American market, particularly the US, where larger SUVs and crossovers sell well. Mazda hopes to regain market share by electrifying those options and reaching new levels of success in the ever-growing electric vehicle market.