Honda President Ito Steps Down Amid Airbag Controversy

Takahiro Hachigo, Honda’s current Managing Officer, will take over as Senior Managing Officer in April of this year, taking over as President/CEO in late June of 2015. He will be replacing Takanobu Ito, who is stepping down as President and CEO as he takes managerial responsibility for the airbag recalls and safety issues that have plagued Honda over the past year. Ito will not be leaving Honda, however, and will retain his position on the board of directors, taking the post of Director and Adviser.

Hachigo joined Honda in 1982, and began his career in its automobile research and development operations, principally as an engineer in the area of chassis design. Hachigo was in charge of developing the first-generation of the US-built Odyssey minivan, which was launched in 1999 primarily for the US market. Hachigo went on to assume responsibilities as the person-in-charge of developing the second generation CR-V, Honda’s highly successful compact sport-utility vehicle for the worldwide markets, in 2001.

From April 2004 to March 2006, Hachigo was stationed in the US as Senior Vice President of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., where he became actively involved in the local development of Honda and Acura automobiles. In April 2006, Hachigo became Operating Officer of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. and subsequently gaining promotion to Managing Officer in April 2007.

Hachigo has also been purchasing manager, an operating officer in corporate, and general plant manager at Suzuka. He has also served in executive positions in Europe, China, and other Honda operations globally, making him a prime candidate for the CEO position.

Ito began at Honda in 1978 in R&D as a chassis design engineer. He is credited with developing the all-aluminum unibody structure for the first-generation NSX sports car. He rose through to executive positions before taking a position on Honda’s board in 2000 and being named President/CEO in 2009. Under Ito, Honda expanded global manufacturing globally, modernizing operations and introducing faster product development processes. Ito steps down after taking responsibility for the quality problems and mass recalls resulting in one of the largest federal fines in history.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at