Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. has named Hideyasu Tagaya to head the Cypress-based unit.
Tagaya quit as president of Japanese parent, Mitsubishi Motors Corp., in January, after a product defects scandal battered the automaker there.
The hiring comes about a month after Mitsubishi hired Michigan-based turnaround specialist AlixPartners LLC to revive its North American automotive business.
In January, Mitsubishi Motors posted a 54% drop in total North American auto sales to 7,269. Part of Mitsubishi’s decline was attributed to a planned cutback in its fleet sales.
The hiring of AlixPartners followed more turmoil at Mitsubishi. After more than a year of trying to reverse major sales declines, Finbarr O’Neill threw in the towel as the automaker’s North American chief executive late last year.
O’Neill, who had turned around Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America before taking the Mitsubishi helm, left for Dayton, Ohio-based The Reynolds and Reynolds Co. He is chief executive of Reynolds.
Mitsubishi named Rich Gilligan chief executive and president of North American manufacturing as O’Neill’s replacement.
With Tagaya taking the chairman title, Gilligan will keep his titles at the automaker’s North American operations and report to Tagaya.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi tapped David Schembri to fill a new position, executive vice president, sales and marketing. Schembri comes from Mercedez-Benz, where he was vice president, pre-owned and fleet operations based in Montvale, N.J.