Diversifying Honda taps first woman on board, promotes foreigner to operating officer

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TOKYO - Honda has appointed a woman to its board for the first time and given a major promotion to a foreigner in a sign the automaker wants to change perceptions of a hidebound corporate culture.

Honda Motor Co. announced Monday that technology expert Hideko Kunii, 66, will join the board, and Issao Mizoguchi, a Brazilian of Japanese ancestry, has been appointed operating officer.

The appointments need shareholder approval at a meeting set for June.

Companies have come under fire within Japan for not promoting anyone other than Japanese males.

Putting women in leadership positions is a pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policies to revive the moribund Japanese economy.

Toyota has a foreigner on its board, Mark Hogan, formerly of General Motors Co., but has yet to tap a woman.

Organizations: Honda Motor Co., Toyota, General Motors Co.

Geographic location: TOKYO, Japan

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