Mazda North American Operations President and CEO James O'Sullivan credits “great Mazda dealers in this room and across the country” as a reason he received the 2009 Automotive Executive of the Year Award.
“You know how important you are to running this business, so thank you,” he said upon accepting the award at a luncheon in Detroit. “Without listening to dealers, I wouldn't be here today.”
A Detroit native and a veteran of Ford Motor Co., O'Sullivan calls himself an “industry lifer,” whose grandfather, father and many family members worked in the automotive industry. “I may live in California now, but my heart remains right here in the Motor City.”
In response to concerns about the industry's current distress, O'Sullivan said the “pain is being shared by all.”
He said the industry is rapidly changing and “none of us knows what the next few months will bring. But he predicted “things will get better…the industry will be back stronger than ever.”
The award, sponsored by DNV Certification, recognizes leadership, innovation, and vision. Past winners include Carroll Shelby, Jim Press, Bill Ford, Jr., Dieter Zetsche, Rick Wagoner and Henry Ford II, Lee Iacocca and John DeLorean.