October 2, 2008
Masahiro Takedegawa is not your typical east-asian expat executive; his relaxed demeanour and excellent command over English makes him more accessible than most. Soon after moving to India for the second time in 2005, he revealed to BT that it was because of his proficiency in English that he was sent abroad by Honda Motor Company as a young man. His first major assignment outside Japan was to assist in the establishment of the Hero Honda joint venture in the early ’80s. Takedegawa’s experience taught him a lot about India, and today, although he jokes about the dramatic changes over the last quarter century, he realises that in India, things don’t always happen with the clinical efficiency of his homeland.
Honda, has prevented the sparks from flying between the two partners. His three years in charge of Honda-Siel have seen the company grow from strength to strength. Honda’s products have established a strong base for themselves. So much so, that the launch of the all-new Honda City took place in India barely two weeks after it was first unveiled. His transparent management style ensures that he gets along with the local management and that his workers stay in good humour—especially important following Honda’s labour problems at its motorcycle unit in Manesar a few years ago.
Takedegawa is also very clear about setting and achieving goals. It was at his initiative that Honda is bringing forward its entry into the small car segment by over a year to 2009. He also managed to persuade his superiors in Japan about the need to do more development work out of India. But with Honda now planning to dive into the small car segment, Takedegawa might face his biggest challenge yet, as he takes on his Japanese rivals at Maruti Suzuki.