Gadberry is first American to join Koito’s Executive Management Team

PARIS, IL  (August 28, 2017)North American Lighting (NAL) President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Kirk Gadberry has been appointed as Corporate Officer for NAL’s parent company, Koito Manufacturing Co., LTD, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Gadberry becomes the first American to serve on Koito’s executive management team.  His appointment came during the June 29,  2017 Board of Director’s meeting held in Tokyo, Japan.  Gadberry’s role as President and COO of NAL will not change.

“Holding a leadership position within Koito is significant to NAL’s North American customers,” Gadberry said.  “As a Corporate Officer, I will be working with other Koito leaders on a variety of global projects and issues.  I will also be sharing my insights and recommendations with Koito leadership on current and future business trends and opportunities in North America.”

Gadberry added that his appointment is “recognition of the significance NAL plays in Koito’s global operations.”  Also, the “U.S. business perspective will augment Koito’s global strengths and reinforce its path toward further worldwide success.”

Gadberry joined NAL in 1992.  After serving in several capacities, he was named NAL President and COO in June 2016.  “Kirk’s appointment as a Koito Corporate Officer is an indication of NAL’s continuous growing impact on the North American automotive industry,” said Mark Otake, who also serves as NAL’s Board Chairman.  “Koito will benefit from Kirk’s vast knowledge of the North American automotive market, as well as from his proven leadership abilities.”

NAL’s 2016 sales totaled $1.6 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2015.  NAL has seen rapid growth in recent years with sales increasing nearly 300% since 2010.  NAL is the largest automotive exterior lighting supplier in North America and ranks 49th among all North American suppliers.  Koito is the largest automotive lighting supplier in the world, with 2016 sales of $8 billion.

NAL supplies the majority of exterior lighting for Toyota vehicles assembled in North America.  It also provides a significant volume of lighting to Honda, Nissan, Ford-Lincoln, General Motors and Subaru.

NAL Launches Silicon Valley Operations

NAL recently opened a research center in Silicon Valley, strengthening the Koito Group’s position in the rapidly advancing field of vehicle mobility.  Silicon Valley is the epicenter of new transportation technologies, and NAL’s Silicon Valley Operations will collaborate with academia, startups and automotive OEMs to enable solutions best suited to their customers.

One area of interest is integration of sensors within headlights and taillights. Sensor systems, such as LIDAR and camera, detect and recognize objects, and are a key technology for enabling autonomous driving.  “The four corners of the vehicle combine for the optimal 360-degree view of the surroundings,” noted Kishore Ahuja, Vice President of Technology.  “The lights provide an existing framework for placing sensing devices at these corners, without infringing on vehicle styling.  We’re working every day with top engineers and entrepreneurs to develop and fine-tune this approach.”

About North American Lighting

North American Lighting at nal.com is a member of the Japan-based Koito Group of companies and has been manufacturing lighting systems for vehicle manufacturers since 1983.  It is the largest automotive lighting supplier in North America.  It has eight facilities in the U.S. and one in Mexico.  NAL provides advanced lighting technology, engineering design expertise, and state-of-the art production capabilities to automakers based in North America and around the world.

Contact:  Chad Thompson, Corporate Human Resources GM:  (217) 465-6600