Masuko, who stepped down from his position as chairman of the board earlier this month due to health reasons, actually passed away on August 27. The news, though, was only announced by the car company earlier today, with the official cause of death being “cardiac insufficiency.”
“On behalf of the deceased former Chairman, Mr. Masuko, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the generosity that he and MMC received,” Takao Kato, Mitsubishi Motors’ serving CEO, said in a statement.
A private funeral attended by close friends and relatives has already been held for the executive. MMC says it has no plans to hold a farewell gathering for its former CEO, out of respect for Masuko’s wishes.
Masuko was born on February 19, 1949, and graduated from Waseda University’s Faculty of Political Science and Economics in 1972. He was appointed president in 2005 and steered the Japanese car manufacturer for 15 years, including the last several as a member of a prominent alliance with fellow Japanese brand Nissan and French carmaker Renault.
The former CEO helped spearhead the company’s push for electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as the expansion of the brand in Southeast Asia. In 2017, Masuko flew to the Philippines from Japan for the unveiling of the country’s first locally manufactured Mirage G4. The past few years, though, have seen the carmaker weather several storms, which include deteriorating profits, a widely-publicized corruption scandal revolving around former alliance boss Carlos Ghosn, and, most recently, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on car sales.
The automotive community just lost one of its most prominent members. Rest in peace, Masuko-San.