Motors America, Inc. has re-arranged its senior executive line-up.
The appointments, effective from the end of the month, involve executives at
Mitsubishi Motors America (MMA), the umbrella company for the Japanese car maker’s
subsidiaries in North America; Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. (MMSA)
and Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America Inc. (MMMA).
Hirao Iijima becomes chairman and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Motors
America, as well as MMSA and MMMA.
He replaces Hiroshi Yajima, who has returned to Tokyo to become a member of
the board of directors of parent company Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC)
and senior vice president, executive general manager of corporate affairs and
Iijima is currently president and chief executive officer of MMMA and a 35-year
veteran of MMC.
Pierre Gagnon becomes president and chief operating officer of MMSA and will
continue as a member of the boards of directors for MMA, MMSA and MMMA. He is
currently executive vice president and chief operating officer of MMSA.
Gagnon was appointed EVP and COO of MMSA in December 1997, returning the company
to profitability, changing the advertising and marketing direction, gaining
unprecedented dealer support and achieving a 65 percent increase in sales over
the past two years.
Prior to joining MMSA, Gagnon was head of consumer marketing at Saturn and
worked for 18 years at General Motors Canada.
Rich Gilligan becomes president and COO of MMMA while remaining on the boards
of directors of MMA, MMMA and MMSA.
He’s currently executive vice president and chief operating officer of
MMMA, having joined the company as EVP and COO in December 1998.
Under his leadership, MMMA returned to profitability, increased production
volume by 40 percent and JD Power quality by 23 percent and improved first
time capability’ to more than 90 percent.
Hours per vehicle as measured by the influential Harbour Report improved by
more than 45 percent.
Prior to joining MMMA, Gilligan ran several plants for Ford in his nearly 30-year
career with the blue oval.
With sales and administration based in Cypress, California and an assembly
plant in Normal, Illinois (that also builds Chrysler cars), Mitsubishi’s
American subsidiaries have had a chequered past.
The company has struggled with profitability and quality problems and, some
years ago, faced charges of sexual harassment brought by assembly plant employees.
Earlier this year, Mitsubishi said it would recall 956,000 Mitsubishi- and
Chrysler-badged vehicles built in America to check for rusty suspension parts.
The recall was part of a worldwide programme announced after its Japanese parent
was found to have covered up reported vehicle defects.
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