Japan’s fourth largest automaker, Suzuki Motor, has announced that its 85-year-old chief executive officer Osamu Suzuki has appointed his eldest son, Toshihiro Suzuki, as the new president of the company.
The announcement, highly anticipated the shareholders, is a move to appease investor concerns over the automaker’s top management succession plans – reflected in the surge of company shares by at least five percent following the news. Executive Vice President Toshihiro Suzuki has become, effective Tuesday, the new company president and chief operating officer, while his father retained the roles of CEO and chairman. “If I don’t say much and stop working, I’ll get dementia, so I’ll continue to work an appropriate amount,” said the long running leader to media representatives. He added he would continue to observe the capital tie-up with Volkswagen Ag, initiated back in 2009, together with Yasuhito Harayama, a former executive vice president and bureaucrat at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, who has also been appointed to the newly role of Vice Chairman.
Suzuki is now trying to shed the VW Ag connection as it moves to buy back the 19.9 percent stake it gave to the largest European automaker and has enlisted an international arbitration court after the deal went sour. Suzuki also established new financial targets under a five-year business strategy – lifting revenue to a new record and growing car sales to 3.4 million vehicles in the year ending March 2020. They also set the year’s dividend ratio at 15 percent, lower than Nissan’s 36.6 percent or Toyota’s 29 percent.