The top executive at Mazda North America, Jim Sullivan, has elected to call it quits after a long career in the auto industry spanning more than 40 years.
O’Sullivan joined MNAO as President and CEO in 2003, and also held the title of Managing Executive Officer of Mazda Motor Corp. O’Sullivan’s retirement is effective Jan.1, 2016.
During his 13-year tenure with MNAO, and 40-plus years in the auto industry, O’Sullivan earned a reputation as a respected industry expert, who gained the trust of Mazda’s dealers, who had carried the brand through some lean years during the recession and the abrupt end of the Japanese automaker’s long-standing partnership with the Ford Motor Co.
O’Sullivan, who was assigned to Mazda after a successful career as a Ford Motor Co. sales executive, was the longest-serving senior executive of any car company in the U.S. at the time of his retirement. Mazda North American operations have set sales record tor two consecutive years and the company’s new-generation of vehicles have earned critical acclaim for styling and engineering.
Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently cited Mazda for selling the most fuel-efficient vehicles found in the U.S. for the second year in a row.
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“I could not be more sad to see Jim leave Mazda,” said Masamichi Kogai, president and CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation, the global parent company of MNAO. “Since 2003 he has taken the lead in driving sales and building the brand in the USA and Mexico,” he added.
I wish him the very best of luck in retirement and I’m sure he will excel in whatever the future holds for him,” Kogai said in a statement, announcing O’Sullivan’s retirement.
“I have been very lucky that the car business has afforded me so many incredible experiences, and taught me so much,” O’Sullivan said of his departure. “However, now is the right time for me to retire from Mazda. I’m proud of what my team has achieved, and I know that I leave Mazda in a better place than it was when I joined.
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“I don’t know how the next chapter in my life will read, but it’s time for me to spend time with my wonderful wife, my children and my grandchildren,” he said.
O’Sullivan is being replaced by 55-year-old Masa Moro. At MNAO, Moro will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s operations in the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, including sales, marketing, parts and service, logistics, communications, customer support and regional operations. As Managing Executive Officer of Mazda Motor Corp., he will oversee global marketing strategy.
In his previous role, working out of the company’s headquarters office in Hiroshima, Japan, Moro was responsible for Global Sales, Marketing and Customer Innovation. Prior, Moro served as Vice President of Marketing at Mazda Motor Europe, as well as its Vice President of Product Marketing.
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He joined Mazda in 1983 and has worked in various sales and marketing roles, including two years as General Manager of Global Marketing Division, before joining the European operation in March 2004. Additionally, Moro served as Director of Mazda Australia from May 25, 2012 to July 31, 2013.