Matsuhiro Tanaka will be the new Vice President of Mazda’s European Research & Development Centre effective 1 September. The 55 year old comes to the Oberursel, Germany facility from Mazda’s Vehicle Development Division in Japan.

Prior to that, he served in various vehicle development capacities. Tanaka first joined Mazda in 1984 after completing a degree in engineering at Yamaguchi University. He was initially involved in assorted roles related to crash safety.

“Mr. Tanaka brings a wealth of vehicle development expertise that we will certainly benefit from here in Europe,” says Mazda Motor Europe President & CEO Jeff Guyton. “We’re delighted to have someone join us with such an invaluable level of experience after more than 30 years at Mazda.”

Tanaka succeeds Kenichiro Saruwatari, 51, who has held the position since early 2014. Saruwatari is returning to Japan, where he will assume the role of Deputy General Manager in Mazda’s Product Division.