The Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors, an ally of Renault and Nissan, announced Friday the resignation for “health reasons” of the chairman of its board of directors, Osamu Masuko, aged 71.
The functions of Mr. Masuko will be carried out “temporarily” by Takao Kato, the group’s general manager since June 2019, according to a company statement.
The former president will continue to “support” Mitsubishi Motors as “special advisor”, according to the statement.
Mr. Masuko had been CEO of Mitsubishi Motors between 2014 and the end of 2016, then again between the end of 2018 and June 2019.
Carlos Ghosn had occupied the presidency of Mitsubishi Motors after the group’s entry into the fold of the Renault-Nissan alliance at the end of 2016. But Mitsubishi Motors had withdrawn this title from him shortly after his arrest in November 2018 in Japan on suspicion of embezzlement financial.
As for Renault and Nissan, the results of Mitsubishi Motors are currently deeply in the red, severely affected by the crisis in the automotive sector with the pandemic.
In the first quarter of 2020/21 (April-June), the group recorded a net loss of 176.2 billion yen (1.52 billion francs), and expects a net loss of 360 billion yen on the whole exercise.
At the end of July, the group presented a restructuring plan aimed at reducing its fixed costs by at least 20% by the end of its 2021/22 fiscal year compared to 2019/20.
Mitsubishi Motors plans to focus primarily on its preferred region, Southeast Asia, while reorganizing its operations in Japan and expanding into China. It is also counting on its alliance with Renault and Nissan to reduce costs and ultimately return to profitability.
ats, awp, afp