News & Views

22 Feb 2012

Honda Strengthens North American Regional Operations With Changes in U.S. Management

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Honda yesterday announced several changes in its U.S. executive ranks designed to strengthen its North American regional operations to further speed decision-making and increase efficiency and competitiveness within the region.

Tetsuo Iwamura, President of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Chief Operating Officer of North American Regional Operations and a Senior Managing Officer of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., will be promoted concurrently to Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, effective April 1. Iwamura will remain as President and retain all his responsibilities as head of American Honda and Honda's North American Region. His appointment to the Board as Representative Director of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., will be pending approval at the company's annual shareholder's meeting in June.

Erik Berkman will become President of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., (HRA) with major centers in Ohio, California, North Carolina and elsewhere in North America, effective April 1, 2012. He will be responsible for all design and product development. Since 1991, Honda R&D has fully developed more than 20 Honda and Acura models in the U.S. Berkman joined Honda in 1982 and worked at HRA from 1991-2008 where he led the development of a number of leading Honda and Acura products. He is currently Vice President of Corporate Planning and Logistics for the Automobile Operations Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and President of Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), Honda's racing company in North America. He will succeed Hiroshi Takemura who will return to Japan as Deputy Director of Automobile Operations.

Art St. Cyr will succeed Berkman as Vice President of Corporate Planning and Logistics for the Automobile Operations Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and President of HPD on April 1, 2012. St. Cyr is currently Chief Engineer and led the development of the all-new 2011 Odyssey at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. Ohio Center.

Brian Newman, will become President of Honda South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC), in Timmonsville, South Carolina, where Honda produces all-terrain vehicles. Newman, who has been with Honda for 32 years including 21 years with Honda of America Mfg. Inc. (HAM), in Ohio, is currently Senior Vice President of HSC.

Charles Ernst has been named Chief Engineer of the Powertrain Function at the North American Engineering Center at HAM, where he will be responsible for expanding Honda's new engine technologies for its North American operations. Ernst joined Honda in 1985, working at the HAM Anna Engine Plant, in Anna, Ohio.  He is currently Senior Vice President at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC, responsible for engine and vehicle manufacturing operations.

About Honda

Honda currently employs more than 25,000 associates in America, including sales, manufacturing and R&D operations with a capital investment of more than $11 billion.

Honda operates 14 manufacturing facilities in North America that produce a wide range of automobiles, light trucks, engines and automatic transmissions, as well as all-terrain vehicles and power equipment products such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers, and general-purpose engines.  With seven North American auto plants (four in the U.S.) that have a combined capacity of more than one million units, more than 85 percent of the new Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2011 were built in North America using domestic and globally sourced parts.

Honda also operates major research and development centers in the U.S. that fully design, develop and engineer many of the products produced in North America.  The company has exported almost one million U.S.-made Honda and Acura vehicles to more than 100 countries since 1987.

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NOTE TO THE EDITOR: Brief Bios of all referenced executives are included below. Photos area available at www.hondanews.com

Tetsuo Iwamura

Tetsuo Iwamura, President of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Chief Operating Officer of North American Regional Operations and a Senior Managing Officer of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., will be promoted concurrently to Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2012.

Iwamura will remain as President and retain all his responsibilities as head of American Honda and Honda's North American Region. His appointment to the Board as Representative Director of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., will be pending approval at the company's annual shareholder's meeting in June.

Immediately prior to becoming president of American Honda, Iwamura served as president of three major South American subsidiaries -- Honda South America Ltda., and Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda. and Moto Honda da Amazonia Ltda., as well as the Chief Operating Officer, Regional Operations South America.

Iwamura began his career with Honda in 1978.  After three years in the Parts Division of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., he joined Canadian Honda (now Honda Canada, Inc.) in the area of automobile marketing.  In this role he helped conduct the feasibility study and construction of Honda of Canada Mfg. and the launch of the plant's first product (Accord), introduce the U.S.-made Accord in Canada and launch sales of the new Acura Division in 1987.

In fall 1987, Iwamura returned to Japan to work in a domestic auto sales branch in the Kanagawa Prefecture for two years.  In 1989, he joined Honda of the U.K., helping launch sales of the Concerto model and the start up of Honda of the U.K. Manufacturing – Honda's automobile and engine production operation in the U.K.  From 1993 to 1998, Iwamura served as the president of Honda Deutschland G.m.b.H. in a challenging economic market after the reunification of East and West Germany.

Following one year at Honda Motor Europe, Ltd. as General Manger of European auto sales, Iwamura returned to Japan as General Manager of the North America Sales Division in 1999.  In 2000, he became Chief Operating Officer of the Parts Division of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and, in June 2000, a Director of the Board of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

In 2003 through April 2007, Iwamura served as the Chief Operating Officer of South America Regional Operations for Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and president of three major Honda subsidiaries in Brazil – overseeing the rapid growth of Honda's automobile sales operations, the growth of auto production in Brazil and the continued growth of motorcycle production and sales operations.

Iwamura was named a managing director of the Board of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., in 2006, and a senior managing director two years later.  He joined American Honda as the President and CEO in April 2007.

Iwamura graduated from Tsukuba University in 1978 with an M.A. in Area Studies.

Erik Berkman

Erik Berkman will become President of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., (HRA) effective April 1, 2012.

He is currently vice president of Corporate Planning and Logistics for the Automobile Operations Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and president of Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD). As vice president of Corporate Planning, Berkman is responsible for five key areas of strategic planning for the Honda and Acura automobile lines in the U.S.  These areas include strategic planning and consumer insights, product planning/development, sales and production planning, vehicle distribution and logistics, and alternative fuel vehicles.

Berkman, a mechanical engineer who graduated from Purdue University, started his Honda career at the Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (HAM), Marysville Auto Plant in 1982, managing a variety of quality-control and product-engineering departments. Following his tenure in Marysville, Berkman moved to the Anna Engine Plant in Anna, Ohio, where he continued his work in quality control and product engineering.

In 1991, Erik moved to HRA to work on the Accord wagon, Honda R&D's first U.S.-designed and developed vehicle. In 1996, Erik became chief engineer, having led pre-development of the 1999 Odyssey, and served as the Large Project Leader (LPL) for the 1998 Accord Coupe. In 1999, Erik was promoted to executive engineer, serving as the LPL for a variety of U.S.-developed vehicles, including the Acura CL and the Acura TL.

In 2008, Berkman became president of HPD where he focused on evolving the company towards self-reliance in motor racing products and services.

Art St. Cyr

Art St. Cyr will become Vice President of Corporate Planning and Logistics for the Automobile Operations Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and president of Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD) on April 1, 2012.

St. Cyr is currently Chief Engineer at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA) Ohio Center, where he recently led the development of the all-new 2011 Odyssey

St. Cyr joined HRA in 1988 and soon thereafter spent two years at Honda's R&D Center in Tochigi, Japan, working on the chassis development of the 1991 Acura NS-X and 1991 Acura Legend.  Beyond developing his expertise in vehicle reliability, this experience enabled him to grasp the Japanese culture and language.

Upon his return to the United States in 1991, he continued in vehicle development and had responsibility for the complete vehicle performance of the all-new 2001 Acura MDX, HRA's first development SUV.  St. Cyr held the same role in the development of Honda's innovative, all-new Element which debuted in 2003, and then had overall responsibility for each successive model of the Element through the 2007 model year.

A 1988 graduate of the University of California, Davis, St. Cyr holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Brian Newman

Effective April 1, 2012, Brian Newman, will become President of Honda South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC), in Timmonsville, South Carolina, where Honda produces all-terrain vehicles. He is currently Senior Vice President of HSC, where he is responsible for overall plant operations including manufacturing and support functions, new model activities and new business feasibility studies.

A native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, Newman joined HSC in 2001, with over 20 years of experience in motorcycle, automobile and engine and transmission production.

Newman began his career with Honda in 1980 as a Production Associate at the Marysville Motorcycle Plant in Marysville, Ohio.  Over the next 16 years, Newman's  assignments included the Marysville Automobile Plant, Anna Engine Plant, and Honda Transmission Manufacturing where, in 1994, he was promoted to Vice President of overall plant operations.

An active leader in the community, Mr. Newman currently serves on the following boards and committees: Florence Regional Arts Alliance Board, Former President; American Heart Association Start! Pee Dee Heart Walk Executive Leadership Team, Former Chair and Co-Chair; Florence Darlington Technical College Foundation Board; First Reliance Bank Advisory Board; South Carolina State Chamber of Commerce Board; Florence March for Babies Chairman for 2012; and Florence Darlington Technical College Area Commission Board.  He has previously served on the Florence School District Four Strategic Planning Committee; Florence County Chamber of Commerce Board.

Charles D. (Chuck) Ernst

Effective April 1, 2012, Charles Ernst has been named Chief Engineer of the Powertrain Function at the North American Engineering Center at Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (HAM), where he will be responsible for expanding Honda's new engine technologies for its North American operations.

He is currently Senior Vice President at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC (HMA), in Lincoln, Alabama, responsible for engine and vehicle manufacturing operations. He is responsible for daily operations of the entire Lincoln facility, including automobile and engine production.

Honda's $1.7 billion vehicle and engine operation in Alabama employs 4,000 associates. The company produces the Odyssey minivan, Pilot sport utility vehicle and Ridgeline pickup truck and the V-6 engines that power them. Honda has the capacity to produce 300,000 vehicles and engines annually at its Alabama facility.

Since 1999, Ernst has been responsible for all phases of HMA's development.  He has worked for Honda since joining Honda of America Mfg. in February 1985.  During his tenure with Honda, Ernst has held positions ranging from engineering coordinator and senior staff engineer to senior manager and vice president.

He was involved with the start-up of Honda's Anna Engine Plant in Anna, Ohio, and was vice president of Findlex Corp., a Honda supplier.  While working with Findlex, he was responsible for all aspects of the plant's operations including automotive brake systems and special component production. From 1995 until the start of the Alabama Project, Ernst was responsible for the powertrain and body equipment divisions for Honda Engineering North America.

Before joining Honda, Ernst worked in the automotive steel and engineering industries.  He has a bachelor of science in applied science from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, with a specialty in manufacturing engineering.

Ernst previously served on the board of directors for the McWane Science Center in Birmingham and is currently on the board of the American Red Cross of Alabama.

Ernst also serves on the University of Alabama at Birmingham Advisory Council for the School of Mechanical Engineering and is a member of the University of Alabama's College of Engineering Leadership Council. Additionally, Ernst is active with the Alabama Section of the Society of Automotive Engineers and served on the Governor's Alabama Innovation Council.

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