Mitsubishi Motors Corp said on Friday Osamu Masuko resigned as chairman due to health reasons and has handed over the role to CEO Takao Kato on a temporary basis, APA reports quoting Reuters.
A veteran of the Mitsubishi conglomerate, Masuko joined the automaker in 2004, and became president in 2007. He oversaw the creation of the partnership between Mitsubishi and Nissan Motor Co in 2016, which saw Nissan take a controlling stake in the company.
The 71-year-old would stay on at Mitsubishi as a special adviser, the company said in a statement. It did not specify what Masuko was ailing from.
Masuko was at the helm of Mitsubishi during a 2016 scandal in which the automaker was found to have overstated the mileage on its vehicles. An investigation uncovered slack governance and pressure on resourced-starved engineers as chronic issues at the company.
The scandal was Mitsubishi’s third in two decades, and pummelled profits and tarnished the automaker’ s brand. At the height of the scandal, Nissan lent its smaller rival a lifeline by offering the company $2.2 billion for a 34% controlling stake.
The deal was agreed between Masuko and then Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, and brought Mitsubishi in as a junior partner in the Nissan-Renault automaking alliance.