General Motors may have made headlines when it recently appointed the industry's first female CEO, but Honda has long lagged woefully behind the times when it comes to the diversity of its top management. In fact, its entire board has until now been composed entirely of Japanese men, with not a foreigner or a woman in sight. But as Reuters reports, that's all changing with the nominations to its latest board.

The slate of new directors named to Honda's board includes one Hideko Kunii, a gender-equality advocate and engineering professor from the Shibaura Institute of Technology. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Kunii spent the bulk of her career at Japanese electronic imaging company Ricoh. Alongside Kunii, Honda has also named Tomoko Mizoguchi to the board as responsible for the company's South American operations, making him the first foreigner to serve on the company's board of directors. (Well, almost: Mizoguchi was born in Brazil, but of Japanese ancestry.)

The appointments follow the recent switch Honda made in its official language policy from Japanese to English, signaling a shift in outlook for a company that has long stuck to traditional Japanese business models. Honda was the first of the major Japanese automakers to begin manufacturing in the United States, and has long relied on hiring local managers to run its regional operations around the world. It has, however, resisted placing foreigners on its board of directors until now, relying instead on senior male managers promoted from within its ranks to serve on its board. This in comparison to Toyota, which has seven foreigners and one woman on its 68-member board of directors, and Nissan, which has fifteen foreigners (including its chief executive) and one woman on its 58-member board.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      I never really got this thing where you have to have certain amount of certain people. You put the person you think who is the best for that position, doesn't matter if their black or white, female or male, domestic or foreigner.
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Honda has long lagged woefully behind the times when it comes to the diversity of its top management." So we need diversity for the sake of diversity, or perhaps we need whoever is best for the job no matter what's between their legs?
        • 1 Year Ago
        So the world is over 50% women and not a single one of them is good enough to make it on the board? I'm sure that's the case.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Congratulations Honda!... for joining the 21st Century.
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the Japanese considers her a foreigner, then I'm E.T. Nonetheless, good to see them catching up to new global standards. Still, good luck to anyone not Japanese living there.
        • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Shake up the US leadership so we can start getting better cars.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Before anyone say, "shouldn't we hire who does the job best, not just for diversity sake? etc." Stop and think a bit, if all of the top positions are only held by a certain group of people, then there's probably a system of prejudice and bias in place to PREVENT diversity from happening. Don't have to be the best, just have to born born w it before now.
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOL at normc32
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Now if only they would hire some new designers.
      • 1 Year Ago
      so... Hideko is a girl?
      • 1 Year Ago
      Probably all the car makers with foreign partners like nissan-renault, mazda-ford, etc are forced to include some of their partners people in the board, but does Honda have a foreign partner? I think no; seems that honda is in catching up with the times :) . Good luck to the new directors.
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