News Releases

CX-50 Program Manager Named Vice President of Alabama Business Unit

IRVINE, Calif. (March 18, 2022) – Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today announced changes to its Huntsville-based Alabama Business Unit leadership, effective April 1, 2022.

Taking the helm at the Alabama Business Unit will be Naoki Okano who will become Vice President. In his new role, Okano will assume ultimate responsibility for working with suppliers, handling logistics for the plant, and managing quality assurance. Prior to being promoted, Okano served as the CX-50 Program Manager. In this role, Okano was responsible for leading all relevant divisions of the company for the successful development and launch of this all-new vehicle made specifically for the North American market.

“Since having worked as the CX-50 Program Manager it is now very rewarding to be responsible for its success as it is assembled for mass production in Mazda’s new plant,” Vice President MNAO Alabama Business Unit Naoki Okano said. “It is an honor to take on this new opportunity and responsibility for MTM as we create employment opportunities for the Huntsville community and contribute to the American economy.”

Okano succeeds Masashi Otsuka, who previously served as the lead for the Alabama Business Unit. Otsuka will return to Mazda’s corporate office in Hiroshima in a senior leadership role.

“I want to thank Masashi Otsuka for an outstanding job building our new Alabama operation from the ground up, including developing a stellar Mazda team to support MTM,” MNAO President and CEO Jeff Guyton said. “As Naoki Okano takes the reigns, I’m excited to see the continued success of MTM as CX-50 rolls off the Discovery Line and into Mazda dealerships throughout the country.”

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, California, and oversees the sales, marketing, parts, and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada, and Mexico through approximately 780 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada Inc. in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at

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Tamara Mlynarczyk, Mazda North American Operations,
Emily Taylor, Mazda North American Operations,