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Honda CEO resigns

Honda Motor Co. — hurt by falling sales and embroiled in a crisis over defective air bags — is replacing its CEO. The Japanese automaker said Monday that Takanobu Ito, its president and chief executive officer since 2009, will step aside in June and be succeeded by longtime executive Takahiro Hachigo. The unexpected decision follows the recalls of more 6.2 million Honda vehicles in the U.S. — and millions of others elsewhere — equipped with air bags made by Japan’s Takata Corp. The air bags have inflators that can explode, expelling shards of metal and plastic. At least six deaths and 64 injuries have been linked to the problem worldwide. Ito, 61, said it was his own decision to step down. He has been at Honda since 1978, when he joined the company as a chassis engineer. “I believe Honda … requires a new, youthful leadership,” Ito said, according to a transcript provided by Honda. Hachigo is 55.