As Ford Reduces Stake, Mazda Appoints New CEO, Replaces U.S. Execs

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 18, 2008

Here’s an update on the speculation surrounding Ford and Mazda.

Mazda held a press conference this evening in Hiroshima, which confirmed that Ford will sell a 20% stake in the Japanese company in the morning. Mazda declined to name which investors will take a stake, but confirmed it will buy 7% itself. Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement that the move enables Ford to raise capital and allow Mazda and Ford to “continue our successful strategic relationship.” Mazda President and CEO Hisakazu Imaki added that the share sale “will not result in any change in Mazda’s strategic direction.”

A new Mazda management team might make a difference, though. As well as the share sale. Mazda also announced that Imaki will step down as CEO. He is to be replaced by Takashi Yamanouchi who steps up from Executive Vice President. Imaki, who becomes Chairman, said the move was planned for April, but brought forward after Ford’s plans to sell its stake in Mazda came to light.

Mazda has also wasted no time cutting Ford’s influence on its board. CFO David E. Friedman and sales chief Dan Morris step down from Mazda’s board and return to Ford. Their replacements are Mazda lifers. After the reshuffle only one former Ford exec, Philip Spender, stays on the board at Mazda and he has given up key responsibilities including overseeing R&D, cost cutting, marketing, sales and quality assurance. Two general managers, David F. Stickel and Anthony S. Pastor also step down. Mazda just got more Japanese.

Reader Comments

Jim Hendershot

November 18, 2008 11:47 AM

Perhaps now Mazda can get itselt back on track without Ford's flawed influence.

boogle

November 18, 2008 11:51 AM

great..... just what the american car companies need cut all ties with their profitable overseas conterparts.

GD38

November 18, 2008 12:26 PM

I drive a Mazda and love their products. I was very worried about the future of the company as a result of Ford's evaporating working capital. I can only hope Mazda will now run leaner and meaner although recent activity with the Yen might prove problematic for them.

g2ok

November 18, 2008 12:36 PM

So Ford is sell their share of a company that makes a decent product. I don't think that was a good way to raise capital. No info if they will continue to share platforms.

autocreditgirl

November 18, 2008 3:47 PM

Useful information, thanks!
autocreditgirl

Rich

November 18, 2008 4:15 PM

Probably the best decision Ford made over the last couple of decades, and a decision the other auto makers were too shortsighted to see, was to get a piece of this and/or other Japanese auto makers. And now, just to delay the inevitable, they go for some cash. Looking for proof the American auto industry is dead? Here's another nail in the coffin for ya. And, what a surprise, they clean out all the American decision makers over at Mazda. Hmmmm.... Not a bad idea over there, too.

Steven Montes

November 19, 2008 1:03 AM

The three Auto Makers looking to be bailed out is absurd, and criminal. Their problems are self inflated, and well designed to cry wolf at a time the economy is at its worst. For God sakes car makers are glorified car salesmen , they deal in trickery, lies and desperate measures to con people out of their money. I can’t believe America can be so stupid, I thought it was time for change. I that we as a people said good by to stupid when we elected Obama. Give the American people, a $ 100,000.00 for every American Citizen, in every house hold, and let them choose whether or not what cars, homes, banks, will be saved. Let the market crash, as the people will be able to bail out what ever industry they truly need. Let the fools that tried to receive a bail-out suffer, because they brought this upon themselves with their greed. Financial Wizard, and long time Business owner of Montes Orthopedic.

Steve

November 19, 2008 10:32 AM

"Financial Wizard, and long time Business owner of Montes Orthopedic."

I wouldn't invest with you.

Rick Blasser

November 19, 2008 2:48 PM

I don't think that those against the bridge loan, to quickly provide needed access to low cost capital, understand what auto manufacturers invest to provide competitive products to compete with imports like China and Japan who restricted our automotive exports into their countries for so long. Ford has invested $22 billion in R&D over the last 3 Years. Ford has improved quality to be on par with Honda and Toyota and are leaders in many segments.According to the CAR, a collapse of the U.S. auto industry could lead to an economy wide loss of 3 million jobs and cost the gov. more than $150 billion over the next 3 years. Are you willing to take that risk rather than provide a loan to these companies? These companies have been our industrial cornerstone for over 100 years. I feel better about this loan than the way the Republicans are spending the $700 billion bailout funds.

Derek

November 20, 2008 3:29 PM

"Financial Wizard, and long time Business owner of Montes Orthopedic." You couldn't possibly be more inaccurate. " Car Makers are Glorified Car Salesman" As someone who has spent the past 15yrs in the Automotive industry, primarily in sales, I take that comment pesonally. The Big 3 provide a valuable product, whether or not YOU believe it is competitive, services and create thousands of jobs. I am personally sick and tired of the Media mis-informing people like youself, about GM, Ford, and Chrysler. These companies build vehicles, equal to, or exceeding, quality of our Import competitors. GM builds more vehicles with a 30MPG, than Honda,Toyota, and Hyundai... COMBINED. Get the facts, Sir, before you trash a vital part of American industry. Your comment about the "$100,000 to every household"., couldn't be crazier. But, what do I know, I'm just another "snake oil salesmen", right?

Preston

November 24, 2008 1:40 PM

With all due respect to Derek - Ford, GM and Chrysler are the architects of their own demise. GM is perhaps the perfect example of cruel irony. Many people are unaware that roughly 30 years ago, GM produced a practical, fully functional electric car, the EV1.
Under the assumption that it would ultimately cannibalize all other sectors of the automotive industry, GM repossessed all of the leased EV1s and scrapped the program. They then followed through on plans to purchase Hummer (idiots).
Other US automakers followed suite, and instead of producing autos rife with innovative energy technology, we were suddenly overrun with USELESS SUVs from practically every automaker.
I think a little fact checking would benefit you as well.

CJ

November 26, 2008 5:21 AM

Kind of baffles me that not enough people are mentioning that the Big 3 have been in trouble well befor the credit crisis ... it is just making it worse ... and who thinks it will be any better when we get to the other side. I am for 'survival of the fittest'.

Jerold

May 7, 2009 10:22 PM

The EV-1 was canceled because the nickel-metal hydride batteries were not up to the task of providing a reasonable range and durability. Seems hard to believe but look how much better and cheaper LCD or Plasma TV's are now than they were a few years ago, and much less expensive. The leases were part of the feasibility study. The masses weren't clamoring for electric cars in the gas cheap mid 90's and you can't sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo. Right now Ford or GM could hire God to make a car and it wouldn't please most. I root for the home team but I hope soon the North American operations for GM and Ford cease followed by IBM, GE, Caterpillar, and every other manufacturer of goods that I have experienced any trouble. Then no one will have to work and we can spend more time admiring the Japanese.

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