MAY 4, 1998
Kawamoto to retire
NOBUHIKO KAWAMOTO, who has led the Honda Motor Company for the last eight years, is to retire later this summer. At 62 years of age he is already over the official retirement age of the company but the move had not been expected. He is to be replaced, for the moment at least, by Executive Vice President Hiroyuki Yoshino, an aeronautical engineer who is only three years younger than Kawamoto. Yoshino says that he is behind the plan for Honda to return to Formula 1 with its own chassis and engine but it is unlikely that he will remain in charge of Honda for more than two or three years.
Kawamoto and his predecessor Tadashi Kume, who retired in May 1990, were the prime movers in Honda's F1 involvement in the 1980s. Kume had been an engineer with the Honda F1 team in the 1960s and Kawamoto was one of the race team technicians. Both went on to become head of Honda's Research and Development department at Wako before taking over the running of the company. Although new management may have less direct experience in motor racing, it is unlikely that Honda will move away from its belief that competition is the best way to train engineers, motivate staff and to advertise the product.
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