Mazda North American Operations CEO Jim Oâ€™Sullivan on Monday announced that he will retire at the end of the year and will be replaced by Mazda global sales chief Masahiro Moro. Oâ€™Sullivan has led Mazda for more than a decade, out from under Ford ownership and into a small, independent â€” but growing â€” U.S. automaker.
Oâ€™Sullivan took over in 2003 and helped guide the company during its split from FordÂ five years later. He alsoÂ led Mazda through the recession and helped raise money for its facility in Mexico, which opened last year.
Moro is a longtime Mazda employee who first joined the automaker in 1983, according to the company. Most recently, Moro was responsible for global sales and marketing, and has been vice president for marketing in Europe. Moro also served as director for Mazda in Australia between 2012 and 2013.
Oâ€™Sullivan had been the longest serving senior executive for any carmaker in the U.S. before he announced his retirement, according to the automaker.
Under Oâ€™Sullivanâ€™s tutelage, Mazda in the U.S. broke 300,000 vehicle sales in 2014 â€” it’s best year since 2002. The automaker is expected to surpass that number again for 2015.
Moro will take over for O’Sullivan beginning Jan. 1, according to Mazda.