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.”