Jim O’Sullivan, Mazda, at the 2010 LA auto show

Jim O’Sullivan, Mazda, at the 2010 LA auto show

James J. O’Sullivan, President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations took time to talk to me at the 2010 LA auto show.

What does it say about your relationship with your largest shareholder when you don’t know that they are reducing their stake in you till the day you do it?

I asked O’Sullivan about Mazda being a stand-alone company. He was a bit taken aback, and told me he was happy with Ford and the eleven percent that they owned.

The next day the news came out that Ford had reduced it’s stake in Mazda to 3.5 percent from 11 percent. I was told that O’Sullivan had no prior knowledge.

This was released by Ford =  “Ford said the decision to reduce it’s ownership stake in Mazda allows it to increase flexibility as it continues to pursue growth in key emerging markets. Ford said it plans to remain one of Mazda’s largest shareholders and remains committed to it’s strategic partnership with Mazda, which spans more than 30 years.”

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About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.

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