Honda is the second Japanese carmaker to announce that it is trimming the number of full board members, to 12 members from the current 20, at the end of June to speed up decision-making.
Earlier this month the Nikkei business daily reported that Toyota was also reducing its board to 10-15 directors from 27 in order to take faster decisions
Honda chief executive Takanobu Ito, also said executive vice president Koichi Kondo will take up the vacant chairman’s post at the start of the new financial year on 1 April.
In June, eight directors, including chief financial ffficer Yoichi Hojo, will step down from the board and managing officer Yoshiharu Yamamoto will join, leaving 10 internal board members and an unchanged two external directors. Former CFO Fumihiko Ike will replace Hojo.
Company sources at Toyota have been reported as saying that, in a rare move, Katsuaki Watanabe, vice chairman and former president of the Japanese automaker, will become an adviser to the carmaker while Fujio Cho is expected to remain as chairman.
Normally at Toyota, a former president is appointed as chairman before receding to the post of adviser. The company plans to decide on its top management line-up after the general shareholders meeting in June, the sources told Kyodo News.
Watanabe, 69, was appointed as president in 2005 to succeed Cho, 74, and went on to lead Toyota to become the world’s largest automaker in terms of sales ahead of General Motors. However, under his presidency, the company also logged its first operating loss in 71 years in fiscal 2008 following the financial downturn. He was succeeded in June 2009 by Akio Toyoda, 54, and became vice chairman.
Company president Toyoda will announce on 9 March the management’s vision for Toyota over the next decade as it recovers from its worst ever recall crisis.
Watanabe outlined in late 2007 a general direction for the company under Toyota Global Vision 2020 that included the spread of hybrid technology to all models, a vision for next-generation mobility on a community-wide basis, and the commercialisation of its humanoid robot business.
It had also included the introduction of spreading its next-generation manufacturing technology to its factories around the world.