One Honda is exec is going from cars to booze.
Honda's North American executive vice president is retiring to take up an interesting new career path.
John Mendel, who's been Honda's top sales exec in America since 2004, has announced that he is retiring from the auto biz so he can focus full-time on a micro-distillery he's opening with his two sons. Called Devil's Creek Distillery, the California-based operation is scheduled to begin liquor production this spring.
"We'll start producing in May, with clear spirits first, vodka, gin and a moonshine product, all corn based," Mendel told Bloomberg. "At the same time, we'll be putting up some bourbon and rye for future release and consumption. I've learned a lot about the distilling business lately."
Mendel's change of career isn't due to a lack of success. The 62-year-old is credited with steering Honda through 2008's financial collapse, Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the recent Takata airbag scandal. He's also resisted the temptation to sell Honda vehicles to fleet customers, which has resulted in some of the highest residual values in the industry.
Mendel will be replaced by Jeff Conrad, Honda's current senior vice president and general manager in the U.S. Conrad has worked for Honda for the last 35 years.