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Honda's new CEO is straight out of the R&D department

Toshihiro Mibe joined Honda in 1987 and spent his career focused on car and engine development. Now, he'll lead the Japanese company.

New Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe (Right)

New Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe (far right) shakes hands with Nissan and Toyota executives back in 2015.

Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

Honda named a new chief executive for the automaker on Friday in Toshihiro Mibe. Mibe ascends to the CEO position from his current role as Senior Managing Director and President of R&D, but the Honda veteran has big time humble roots in research and development. Specifically, Mibe joined Honda in 1987 and spent most of his career in vehicle and engine R&D. We all know Honda's glory days came from astute engineering and breakthroughs, so this move has the Roadshow staff a wee bit excited.

Mibe's naming comes as current CEO Takahiro Hachigo steps down, effective April 1. During his six-year tenure, he laid out an electrified vision for the automaker and booked a sweeping North American alliance with General Motors to develop future electric cars, fuel cell powertrains and autonomous vehicle technologies. His time at the top wasn't without some controversial decisions, however. Hachigo oversaw factory consolidation decisions, specifically in the UK, and he trimmed Honda's lineup to toss out cars simply not meeting expectations. The Honda Civic Coupe and Fit come to mind here in the US.

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Now, Mibe will step in to carry out or refine Honda's electrification era. The company previously said it wants electrified cars to make up two-thirds of the vehicles it sells by 2030. That will see a heavy focus on everything from hybrids, to plug-in hybrids and EVs -- maybe even fuel cell vehicles.