Last week, headlines announced that John Mendel would retire from Honda – tucked behind that announcement were other personnel changes that will shape the structure of the company moving forward.
Among those key changes, one of those is Masayuki Igarashi being named as executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co.’s automotive operations. This will be Igarashi’s first stint at Honda’s U.S. operations, after joining the company in 1988. Since joining Honda, Igarashi has held positions in Honda’s China and Vietnam operations and he most recently served as the COO of Honda’s power-product operations.
A few of Mendel’s duties will be assumed by Igarashi. Particularly, he will be overseeing the day-to-day operations at American Honda and sign-off responsibilities for product evaluations throughout their development.
However, most of Mendel’s tasks will be passed on to Jeff Conrad.
“This was really just about time,” John Mendel, 62, told Automotive News. “I’ve done this for almost 42 years now and I’d love to stay longer, but candidly I dragged my family around for 41 years so it’s time I give them another 41 back.”
Mendel said more time with his family includes starting a distillery with one of his sons in Mammoth Lakes, California. The distillery will be called Devil’s Creek Distillery, named after a fictional town in a novel written by Mendel’s wife, Luan.
Conrad, general manager of the Honda brand, will be promoted as well. Conrad will now be the senior vice president of American Honda. Conrad will keep many of his responsibilities that he already has, and now add a higher-level oversight of Acuara, and sales and marketing for both brands will also be added to his tasks.
Conrad will now assume Mendel’s role as the highest-level executive working with U.S. Honda and Acura dealers. Mendel’s departure has been a source of concern for dealers, however, Conrad is seen as a welcome successor, thanks to his 35 years with Honda. Conrad’s time with the company has earned him respect throughout the dealer body.
Conrad’s move up does not affect the role of Acura’s general manager, Jon Ikeda. Ikeda was named to general manager in July of 2015 by Mendel, and now will report to Conrad.
Other changes taking place in the company include Honda promoting Dave Gardner to president of Honda Canada, succeeding Jerry Chenkin, who is retiring. The automaker also named new leaders for its North American manufacturing and transmission groups. All changes will go into effect April 1.