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Kato steps in as Suzuki Australia’s new chief

Top job: Yoshiyuki Hakamata will take on the role of Suzuki Australia managing director from Masaaki Kato (pictured left and bottom), who spent five and a half years in the position.

Suzuki Australia welcomes new MD as Hayasaki takes on new role in Japan

10 Oct 2011

SUZUKI Australia has announced the appointment of Masaaki (Mac) Kato as its new managing director, replacing Takeshi Hayasaki who has returned to Japan after five years here to take responsibility for the African and Latin American motorcycle market.

Mr Kato brings to the position almost three decades’ experience with Suzuki Motor Corporation, having joined the company in 1982 after graduating in political and economic studies.

He has held senior sales and marketing positions for Suzuki in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and South East Asia, and most recently was based at Suzuki’s head office in Hamamatsu, Japan, managing the Oceania and Latin America automobile marketing department.

Mr Kato’s experience covers both car and motorcycle sides of the Suzuki business, the latter including responsibility for North American and Oceania markets and, from 2002 to 2009, the role of vice-president of motorcycle and ATV operations for American Suzuki Motor Corp in the United States.

“I am very excited to be here in Australia, and to build on the tremendous work undertaken by my predecessor Mr Hayasaki and the team here in Australia,” said Mr Kato.

 center imageLeft: Outgoing Suzuki Australia managing director Takeshi Hayasaki.

“Australia is one of the most successful distributorships in the Suzuki family and I am honoured to have been selected to lead such a dynamic team.”

VFACTS industry figures released last week show Suzuki new-vehicle sales are down 2.2 per cent this year after a 20.6 per cent fall in September.

Last year, Suzuki sold almost 25,000 vehicles (excluding motorcycles) after climbing 22.1 per cent over 2009, more than double the overall industry improvement of 10.5 per cent.

Mr Hayasaki was appointed managing director of Suzuki Australia in July 2006 – a year in which Suzuki sold 15,798 new cars – and has worked for the Japanese manufacturer since 1981.

He, too, has held high-level positions in sales and marketing, as well as product planning, for Suzuki motor products in the Japanese domestic market and global business units spanning North America, Europe and, of course, Australia.

He replaced Koichi Takizawa, who had returned to Japan after a five-year stint.

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