Honda Motor US sales unit president and chief executive Koichi Amemiya is expected to become chairman next month in what some company insiders describe as a move aimed at lightening his work load and readying the company for an eventual retirement of the 62-year-old executive, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said.

The report said Amemiya is expected to retain his CEO position at the Torrance, California-based operation but the president’s position is expected to go to Koichi Kondo, currently senior executive vice president at the US sales unit. The 56-year-old reportedly arrived in Torrance in April to take his current position after it was vacated by Atsuyoshi Hyogo, who was transferred to head Honda operations in China.

Kondo was head of Honda’s South American operations and based in Brazil before coming to the US, the WSJ said, adding that the moves are pending approval by the board of directors of Honda’s US sales company, which is expected to come on July 15, according to company officials.