Suzuki Motor CEO and Chairman, Osamu Suzuki, has named his son, Toshihiro Suzuki as the company’s new chief operating officer (COO) and president, as well as his presumptive successor.
The announcement of Toshihiro Suzuki’s elevation to his new posts was made at a company event held yesterday.
Osamu Suzuki, 85, has been at the head of Suzuki Motor Corporation since 1978. Although Osamu now shares his surname with that of the company he runs, he was actually born Osamu Matsuda. He married Shoko Suzuki, grand-daughter of Michio Suzuki, the founder of Suzuki Motor. He joined the family company in 1958 and also adopted his wife’s family name.
According to Automotive News, Toshihiro Suzuki has worked in various roles at his family’s company, including as a liaison between Suzuki and GM, when the latter was a major shareholder, and as a manager of one of the company’s Japanese factories. He was elevated to the post of executive vice president in 2011.
Above: Osamu Suzuki (with shovel) planting cherry tree at Suzuki GB’s new headquarters in 2004.
During his time at the helm, Osamu Suzuki has overseen the company’s joint venture in India, which enjoys a commanding share of the burgeoning car market there. In May 2015, the Maruti Suzuki sold just over 53 percent of the 160,000 passenger cars registered.
From 1981 to 2006 General Motors held a significant share in the company; at one stage the American firm had a 20 percent stake in Suzuki.
In 2009, Volkswagen and Suzuki entered into a partnership agreement, with the German company purchasing a 19.9 percent shareholding in the Japanese automaker. The two firms then fell out, with Volkswagen reportedly taking issue with Suzuki’s use of Fiat diesel motors in its SX4 crossover, and Suzuki accusing the Germans of not sharing its technology as agreed upon.
Suzuki has since taken Volkswagen to the International Court of Arbitration and has reportedly offered to buy back the German auto firm’s shareholding. The two companies are still awaiting a decision from the court.
The company pulled out of the US automotive market in 2012, although it still sells motorcycles and ATVs there.