gardner diallo

American Honda’s Gardner to retire, sales exec Diallo promoted

Dave Gardner, American Honda Motor Co.‘s executive vice president of national operations, will retire after a 34-year run with the Japanese automaker.

Gardner, 62, spent the bulk of his career in management roles at Honda Canada Inc. before his move to the U.S. in 2020.

Mamadou Diallo, vice president of auto sales over Honda and Acura, will step into the position of senior vice president of auto sales and assume a portion of Gardner’s responsibilities. The balance of responsibilities will be divvied up among other executives. No other details were provided.

His new role will include full oversight of sales for Honda and Acura, sales planning, logistics and sales strategy as well as a new product communication division.

The changes are effective April 1.

Over the past three years, Gardner has been tasked with leading American Honda through COVID-19, coping with global supply constraints and a restructuring of the automaker’s sales organization, Diallo said.

American Honda has been among the hardest-hit manufacturers the past two years by microchip shortages and their effect on factory output. Both Honda and Acura struggled with production that could not satisfy high demand, which left dealers with scant supply.

Gardner also set the direction for the company’s digital and electrified transformation, which Diallo said will be a major focus of his expanded role.

Both Honda and Acura will introduce electric crossovers next year — the Prologue and the ZDX — both part of a product-sharing collaboration with General Motors. Acura also is working with its dealer network to develop an “omnichannel” sales platform that will launch alongside the ZDX.

Diallo, 48, started his career with American Honda in 2001 and has risen through the sales organization, working on both the Honda and Acura brands in the field and at the Torrance, Calif., headquarters. In 2017, he became senior manager of Acura National Sales, and was promoted to assistant vice president of Acura sales in 2019. In 2021, he assumed the position of vice president of auto operations before stepping into his current role in 2022 of vice president of auto sales.

Part of Gardner’s road map for the future has included the promotion of younger associates.

“It’s very important that the people involved in the decision-making today are going to be around to see how it unfolds,” Gardner told Automotive News in an interview last June, two months after Diallo’s promotion.

“We’re undergoing a great transition and giving many new leaders the opportunity to bring their initiative and enthusiasm to the role,” Gardner said. “We’re thinking much more about succession and the longer-term than we have in the past.”

Gardner joined American Honda in May 2020 as executive vice president of automobile sales, overseeing sales and marketing activities of the Honda and Acura brands. He also served as the executive vice president of parts, service and technical operations.

Two months later, as part of a corporate restructuring, he became executive vice president of national operations.

In January 2021, he took over the newly formed Marketing and Customer Experience business unit. That spring, his scope widened again to include product planning, market research, vehicle quality assurance and vehicle distribution and logistics.

Gardner holds seats on American Honda’s board of directors and on the Honda North American Regional Operating Board. Replacements on each board will be determined based on other organizational changes, according to Jessica Fini, a spokeswoman for American Honda.

The leadership change coincides with other organizational changes at Honda:

  • The company’s CASE & Energy unit will become Sustainability & Business Development, and will have more focus on energy and new business development activities.
  • A new Digital Services & Marketing division will integrate digital service development and software services.
  • CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electrified) & Energy has been responsible for the automaker’s new Google Built-In system that will come on the Touring trim of the new-generation Honda Accord. That project, which teases Honda’s aspirations for over-the-air updates, will fall under Digital Services & Marketing.
  • A new, streamlined Electrification Business Development Operations unit within parent Honda Motor Co. will be tasked with accelerating the company’s electrification efforts.
  • The parent company’s six regional global operations will also be consolidated to three: North America, China and a new “global group” that combines Japan; Asia & Oceania; South America; and Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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