Honda Motor Company has named Takanobu Ito, the head of the company's core automaking operations, as its new president and CEO. According to a company statement, Ito will take over in late June for current chief executive Takeo Fukui, who will remain on Honda's board as an advisor. Ito began his career with Honda in 1978 in as an engineer in chassis design, working his way up to person-in-charge of a series of compact sedans for the Japanese market during the early 1990s and then to executive vice president of Honda R&D Americas from 1998 to 2000. Ito told the Associated Press that he was approached by Fukui late last year about taking the position. "I felt it was a great honor, but that was like 47 percent of my feelings," he said. "The other 53 percent was this feeling that I can't take it because it was going to be so extremely difficult. I don't recall being all smiles." Honda reported a 90 percent drop in profits for the fourth quarter of 2008 and has been curbing production and cutting jobs at its plants worldwide.
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