Suzuki’s succession hiatus causes concern image

Investors at Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. have started to express their growing unrest over the fact that the company’s Chairman and President, Osamu Suzuki, has not yet named a successor.

Suzuki’s term has already been extended by another year, but the executive – which has been in the position for almost three decades now – has not yet set up a succession plan, even as his age – he’s currently 84 – doesn’t give him much more time.

“It’s a big risk having a 84-year-old at the helm and there’s a widespread sense of uncertainty,” said Kazuyuki Terao, Tokyo-based chief investment officer at Allianz Global Investors Japan Co. “We’re most concerned that if Osamu leaves suddenly given his age, the market will react negatively without knowing what comes next.”

Friday’s annual general meeting in Hamamatsu, southwest of Tokyo, saw Suzuki allowed to remain as the company chief for another year, as the company also reached a record profit last year. The only problem is the actual total revenue is just a pebble next to the mountain made by other rivals – like Toyota – which hinders the company’s ability to spend money on research and development.

Still, short of naming a successor for his position, Osamu Suzuki did make some preparations – as in 2011 he decided to make executive vice presidents four of his team’s lieutenants. They are his son, Toshihiro Suzuki, 55, who leads the automaker’s overseas business; Yasuhito Harayama, 58, who worked for the Japanese government; and two of the company’s long standing executives – Minoru Tamura, 66, and Osamu Honda, 64.

Via Automotive News Europe