Irvine-based Mazda North American Operations announced a raft of changes within its executive ranks in a move the automaker said will bolster its ability to service dealers and customers.

The executive changes go into effect April 1 and include:

-- Executive Officer of Brand Enhancement, Global Marketing and Customer Service Ryuichi Umeshita to executive vice president and assistant to President Jeff Guytonn Senior Vice President of Retail Operations

--Tom Donnelly adds the duties of overseeing regional operations, after sales, technical service department, vehicle sales planning, vehicle distribution and network development

Get the latest OC business and Coronavirus updates

-- Managing Director of Eastern U.S. Brian Nash to vice president of regional operations

-- Senior Director of Supply Chain Management and Technical Services Rob Milne to vice president of aftersales and technical service department

-- Vice President of Network Development Tim Manning to vice president of strategic planning.

The executive shuffling follows an earlier announcement on Friday by Mazda that Executive Vice President Jim Lievois will be retiring April 1.

Lievois is a 24-year veteran of Mazda who held various roles at the automaker including chief financial officer, board member and, currently, head of U.S. operations.