Atsushi Osaki will become the next CEO of Subaru in June, taking over from Tomomi Nakamura, who has led the company since 2018.
The change, Subaru says, will help to “accelerate [its] efforts to address the profound transformation that the automotive industry is undergoing”.
In a press conference attended by Automotive News, Osaki said: “We at Subaru want to survive the age of electrification by being nimble. We will put various systems in place while focusing on flexibility and expansion.”
The new CEO also said that he would concentrate growing sales in the US and Australia. The US accounts for around 65 per cent of the automaker’s sales, while Australia is company’s fourth largest market after the USA, Japan, and Canada.
Osaki joined Fuji Heavy Industries — now known as Subaru — in 1988 straight after completing his masters of engineering at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.
As he ascended through the ranks, Osaki has primarily worked in the product planning, engineering, and quality assurance departments, and became the chief quality officer in 2018.
In 2021, Osaki moved up a rung to become the company’s head of manufacturing.
According to Subaru, part of the reason for the change in leadership was because the automaker is about to conclude its five-year “Step” plan.
Subaru says the new CEO and his team will “formulate a new management vision”, and this will be unveiled at the June’s annual general meeting, where Osaki will formally take charge.
The appointment of a new CEO at Subaru mirrors a similar generational change at Toyota, which owns a 20 per cent stake in Subaru. At the end of January, Toyota announced Akio Toyoda will be replaced by Koji Sato, currently head of Lexus and Gazoo Racing.
Sato has been tasked with sharpening the company’s focus on electric vehicles, a party which the company belated joined.
The jointly developed Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra are the first vehicles on the EV variant of the TNGA architecture, but the cars have suffered multiple recalls for wheels that might fall off during use.
Although Tomomi Nakamura is stepping down as president and CEO of Subaru, he will remain at the firm as the chairman of the board.
Nakamura was appointed boss of Subaru in 2018 after the company admitted to tampering with fuel economy and emissions data for vehicles sold in its home market.
The previous year the automaker had been caught using uncertified trainees to perform final inspections for vehicles being sold in Japan.
Nakamura joined Subaru — or Fuji Heavy Industries as it was known back then — in 1982, and worked primarily in sales, marketing and planning.
He became Subaru of America’s CEO in 2014, and saw it through a tremendous period of growth on the back of its all-wheel drive appeal – so much so he convinced headquarters to allow the American arm to produce a new three-seat crossover, the Ascent, to tackle the Toyota Kluger.