|Woman, 66, takes seat at Honda board
Honda has appointed a woman to its board for the first time and given a major promotion to a foreigner.
Technology expert Hideko Kunii, 66, will join the board, and Issao Mizoguchi, a Brazilian of Japanese ancestry, who has worked with Honda's South American operations for nearly 30 years, has been appointed operating officer, Honda Motor Co. said.
The appointments need shareholder approval at a meeting set for June.
Toyota has a foreigner on its board, Mark Hogan, an American, formerly of General Motors Co., but has yet to tap a woman, and said it is not necessarily looking to promote a woman.
Naming Mizoguchi, 54, as one of the top executives at headquarters, as well as the appointment of Kunii, a professor at the Shibaura Institute of Technology, is a high profile move for the company.
Kunii studied at San Jose University and the University of Texas at Austin, and previously worked for Japanese electronics maker Ricoh Co. She is now in charge of promoting gender equality at the university in Tokyo.
Mizoguchi now serves as senior vice president and director of Honda South America.
Honda officials stressed Kunii was picked because she was the right person for the job, not because of her gender.
Among Japanese companies, Nissan Motor Co., allied with Renault SA of France, has been the most progressive in promoting diversity. Still, it has yet to appoint a woman to its board.
Asako Hoshino, a woman and management expert, is among the top Nissan executives, serving as corporate vice president. Nissan has three non-Japanese on its 12-member board, including Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn. –AP