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Dan Bonawitz retires, Erik Berkman steps in
 Date: April 17, 2009 13:29
 Submitted by:  JeffX
 Source: TOV News
 Credibility Rating: Not Specified


One thing we learned at the New York Auto Show last week was the news that Dan Bonawitz (vice president of Corporate Planning and Logistics for American Honda) retired on April 1st. Bonawitz joined Honda in July of 1985 as a Parts and Accessories Marketing Manager for Honda Power Equipment in the Parts Division. He then worked his way through the ranks in the Parts Division before being named Assistant Vice President of Corporate Planning for Honda's Automobile Operations Division in 1994. Ultimately, in July of 1998 he was named vice president of Corporate Planning and Logistics for the Automobile Operations Division. This was around the time that full-tilt product planning and development commenced in the USA for American Honda, so Dan Bonawitz has essentially led the group since the very beginning.

Erik Berkman has been selected to succeed Mr. Bonawitz. You may be familiar with the name; Berkman was named President of HPD (Honda Performance Development) in January of 2008, but you may also know him as the LPL (Large Project Leader) who brought us the 2004 Acura TL, US-market Odyssey, and the 1998 Honda Accord Coupe. Berkman has worked his way through the ranks of Honda R&D and in addition to his new responsibilities, he will continue to serve in his current role at HPD.

What does this mean for American Honda? For the near term, it will largely be business as usual, but I've known Erik Berkman for quite a while now and I can tell you that he is an avid enthusiast. I am optimistic that his enthusiasm will be reflected in future product development efforts from American Honda, and I feel that this move could only mean good things for future products, particularly with respect to the Acura division.

I spoke with Mr. Berkman for a while last week at the New York International Auto Show and I could already see the wheels turning in his head when our discussion turned towards Acura's future. For the record, I reiterated my thoughts to him that for the Tier 1 objective to be met with success, Acura clearly needs to push for more platform exclusivity (and thus, further product distinction) from Honda.

Berkman is well known internally for his project management abilities, strong technical background, and his process-oriented approach to product development. In addition to that, I would say that Berkman is one of those guys who is very well tuned in when it comes to understanding the product and how it will fit in its intended market. Quite simply, I feel that he's pretty close to being a perfect fit for his new role in heading up product planning.

Other Management Developments
Bonawitz's retirement happens to coincide with Dick Colliver's. Colliver will remain onboard as a special advisor for some time and John Mendel has shifted over to the sales side to take over his responsibilities. Mr. Mendel had been sharing the duties of Executive Vice President of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. with Takashi Sekiguchi. Going forward, Mr. Sekiguchi has assumed sole responsibility for that role.



Last edited by JeffX on April 17, 2009 14:45

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