Honda announces new CEO in midst of electric car pivot

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Words: Matthew Hansen
22 Feb 2021

Honda has confirmed that it now has a new CEO, with Takahiro Hachigo stepping aside and 59-year-old Toshihiro Mibe taking over the role.

Mibe is a long-standing member of Honda’s team. Having joined the Japanese manufacturer in 1987, he has worked across engine development, and had up until recently been the firm’s chief of research and development.

“We would consider using external insight or potential alliances among other actions to make decisions without hesitation,” Mibe said during, adding that Honda needs “major transformation at great speed” in light of the arrival of mass electrification.

“He has been looking into the future, a direction that Honda should be taking,” added departing CEO Hachigo.

Hachigo’s note underlines Mibe’s knowledge of next-gen powertrain platforms, something that Honda up until now has lacked unity around.

The brand has made steps in the recent past towards putting more focus into electric cars, including announcing that all of its cars sold in Europe will be electrified by the end of 2022, while also producing its first electric car, the Honda e.

On the flipside, former CEO Hachigo has been publicly cynical about electric car technology. In November 2019 he told Automotive news that he wasn’t sure about the future of EVs. “I don't believe [EVs] will become mainstream anytime soon,” he said, citing that the genre faces “issues with infrastructure and hardware”.

Mibe’s appointment is likely to see a more streamlined approach to next-gen platforms across Honda’s various arms around the world. Reuters reports that the move has been motivated by the success of the likes of Tesla.

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