Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has announced that effective January 1, 2009, Shinichi Kurihara (59) will succeed Hiroshi Harunari as President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA).

With the fulfillment of his three-year term, Hiroshi Harunari returns to Japan for reassignment within Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

MMC said that as President and CEO of MMNA, Harunari ‘made strides improving dealer communication and vastly helped instill a culture of greater fiscal responsibility in day-to-day operations’. It salso said that Harunari presided over the successful launches of the current Eclipse Spyder, Outlander and Lancer products.

Incoming President and CEO, Shinichi Kurihara, returns to MMNA for his third assignment in the United States from his current position of Senior Executive Officer in the Product Strategy Office where he is responsible for directing and coordinating all matters relating to MMC’s product planning activities worldwide, in addition to long-term marketing and brand development.

Kurihara’s previous U.S. assignments were from 1984-1988 in product planning and marketing where he gained a solid foundation understanding consumer habits. He returned to MMNA between 1996 and 2001 where he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Product Strategy and oversaw a series of product launches.