Mitsubishi Motors R & D of America (MRDA) has named Masato Suwaki to temporarily oversee the North America design activities for Mitsubishi Motors.

He is the senior vice president for company strategy for Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA), where he is responsible for the overall strategic planning for future vehicles manufactured in North America.

Suwaki replaces Dan Sims, general manager of design, who resigned to accept a position with Proctor & Gamble.

From 1997 to 1999, Suwaki was executive vice president for Mitsubishi Motors R&D Europe (MRDE) and was MRDA's president from 2003-2004. From 1972 to 1997, Suwaki worked in the body design department, car research & development centre of MMC where he was charged with the design and development of automotive body design and served as general manager.

MRDA will name a new general manager of design later this year.

Dave O'Connell, a 23-year veteran of MRDA has been promoted to chief designer. O'Connell joined Mitsubishi Motors in 1984 and has worked since in all aspects of vehicle design. He currently has administration and management responsibility for MRDA designers.