Ito has been with Honda since 1978 when he came to the automaker as an R&D engineer specializing in chassis design. Of note to enthusiasts is that Ito presided over the original Acura NSX's aluminum frame development, which hopefully means that its nearly-completed dormant successor may become a "pet" cause of sorts.
Ito has also held key managerial roles in developing small JDM cars in the early Nineties, and he has solid U.S. work experience as well, having been Acura's executive vice-president from 1998 to 2000.
In addition to being the company's president and CEO beginning in June, Ito will already be assuming the role of president and director of Honda R&D, meaning that he will have a lot of hats to wear.
Having logged time developing cars like the NSX and the first-generation MDX, Ito looks to have both solid "car guy" credentials and more than a working understanding of the U.S. market – two qualities that should sit well with American dealers and enthusiasts. Press release and Ito's official CV after the jump.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Announces New President & CEO
Tokyo, February 23, 2009 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Honda Motor) today announced that Takanobu Ito, currently the company's Senior Managing Director, will become the seventh President & Chief Executive Officer of Honda Motor effective in late June 2009. Takeo Fukui, the current President & CEO, will remain on the board and assume the post of Director and Advisor to Honda Motor. This management succession will occur following the final decision of the Honda Motor Board of Directors after the company's annual shareholders' meeting, scheduled for late June 2009.
Ito joined Honda in 1978, and began his career in its automobile research and development operations, principally as an engineer in the area of chassis design. Ito was in charge of developing the all-aluminum uni-body frame structure for the mid-engine NSX sports car that went on sale in 1990, a world's first for a production vehicle of any volume. Ito also took on responsibilities as the person-in-charge of developing a series of compact sedans for the Japanese market in the early 1990's.
From April 1998 to March 2000, Ito was stationed in the U.S. as Executive Vice President of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., where he became actively involved in the development of the Acura brand's first sport-utility vehicle, the MDX (which went on sale in the U.S. in October 2000).
In June 2000, Ito was appointed to the Board of Directors of Honda Motor, simultaneously gaining promotion to Managing Director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. (Honda R&D). He subsequently became President and Director of Honda R&D in June 2003. Ito also took on a role in the area of manufacturing as General Manager of Honda's Suzuka Factory in April 2005.
In April 2007, Ito became Honda Motor's Chief Operating Officer of Automobile Operations and a Senior Managing Director from June of the same year.
From April 2009, he will again assume the top position of President and Director of Honda R&D, a position he will continue to hold concurrently after the successful appointment as President & CEO of Honda Motor expected in late June 2009.
Takeo Fukui has served as Honda Motor's President & CEO since assuming the position in June 2003. During the six years of Fukui's leadership, Honda was able to actively evolve its global manufacturing structure, notably the establishment of a U.S. automobile plant in Indiana and the decision to set up two manufacturing facilities - the Yorii and Ogawa plants - in Saitama, Japan.
Furthermore, Fukui enabled the company to make forays into new business areas, including the establishment of both the jet engine and aircraft businesses, and making a full-scale entry into the solar cell business with Honda's original next-generation solar cell. Also under Fukui's leadership, the company continued to demonstrate its leadership in reducing CO2 emissions through both technology and product innovations. Honda's firm commitment to reduce CO2 output on a global scale was underlined in 2006, when it announced company-wide reduction targets for CO2 emitted from its product lineups as well as from its production lines. The realization of the all-new Insight as an affordable product was an outcome of Fukui's strong guidance, based on the belief that hybrid vehicles must become accessible to more people if the technology is to contribute to reductions in CO2 output.
Fukui joined Honda as an engineer in 1969, and became a member of the project team that developed the Honda CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion) engine. Fukui also has extensive experience in the company's motorcycle development and racing operations. In 1988, he became a member of the Honda Motor Board of Directors, subsequently assuming responsibilities as General Manager of the Suzuka Factory, President of Honda of America Mfg., Inc., President and Director of Honda R&D, and most recently, President & CEO of Honda Motor, a title he has held since June 2003.
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Date of Birth August 29, 1953
Education Kyoto University, M. Eng. Engineering
Professional Experience <Date> <Professional Experience>
Apr. 1978 Joined Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Jun. 1997 Director, Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
Apr. 1998 Executive Vice President, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.
Jun. 2000 Director, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Managing Director, Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
Jun. 2001 Senior Managing Director, Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
Jun. 2003 President and Director, Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
Managing Director, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Apr. 2004 General Supervisor, Motor Sports
Apr. 2005 General Manager, Suzuka Factory, Production Operations
Jun. 2005 Managing Officer, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Apr. 2007 Chief Operating Officer, Automobile Operations
Jun. 2007 Senior Managing Director, Honda Motor Co., Ltd
* As of June 24, 2008
* Current responsibilities in boldface