Suzuki’s 91-years old chairman has finally decided to step down after running the company for over 42 years. This is the longest period for anyone serving in the automotive industry. Osamu Suzuki served the Japanese automaker as chief executive for 22 years and then as chairman for another two decades.
He will now step down from his current role following a shareholders meeting in June, according to a company statement, but will remain associated with the company as a senior adviser.
Osamu Suzuki joined Suzuki Motor in 1958. With the company under the leadership of his father-in-law, Shunzo Suzuki. Osamu was involved in production control and business planning and became president in 1978.
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Osamu is highly regarded as turning Suzuki into the world’s largest producers of small cars. He piloted the company’s successful expansion into India– Suzuki’s biggest market and led Suzuki to forge a capital tie-up with Toyota in 2019.
Suzuki Motor announced a mid-term earlier this week which includes electrifying all models “at the appropriate time” and reducing manufacturing-related carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The decision on management change will “up the speed of the company,” Suzuki said at the briefing.
“I am satisfied with the mid-term plan as well as management’s ability to see it out and I’ll continue to be easily accessible for advice going forward,” he said, assuring listeners that he is “full of life,” having played golf 47 times last year.
The company also set out growth targets, saying it expects to sell 3.7 million vehicles worldwide by fiscal 2025, compared with 2.85 million for the year ended last March. That included a plan to increase sales in Asia from under 1.8 million to 2.5 million– led by India, where Suzuki is aiming for a market share of over 50%.
Osamu Suzuki had ceded his title to his son Toshihiro Suzuki back in 2015, so Toshihiro will be the next in command once the power transition is done. Commenting during the press conference, Toshihiro Suzuki said:
“Carbon neutrality is considered a national policy, and electrification is essential. We will focus on electrification for R&D through 2025.”
Toshihiro Suzuki also promised that the company while focusing on quality will take speedy action to prevent a recurrence of vehicle recalls.