It is rare for an executive in Japan to switch companies. But Tsuda's defection from NTT DoCoMo the company he was rumored to be in line to run until he got passed over for the top spot in May is particularly dramatic. In December, Tsuda, 58, takes over the Japanese subsidiary of Vodafone, the world's largest cell-phone carrier. But in Japan the British company's market share is third and dwindling. Tsuda's challenge: to step up the shift to third-generation phone service and boost the bottom line.
Sliding into the driver's seat at Mercedes in October is Cordes, 53, a 28-year veteran of parent DaimlerChrysler. The luxury-car maker has been plagued by slipping sales and quality ratings; Cordes' job is to get it back on track. He most recently ran the parent company's truck division, where he managed a remarkable turnaround by cutting costs and emphasizing profitability. Following a 2002 loss, the unit turned a $1 billion operating profit last year. With that sort of record, Cordes just might find himself as Daimler's next chairman.
In October, Seegal, 50, takes the rudder at Nautica, the sportswear line owned by VF Corp. since 2003. After quitting Liz Claiborne in 2000 because of a spat with the CEO, Seegal went to Jennifer Lopez's clothing company, Sweetface Fashion; she boosted sales to about $250 million last year by expanding licensing deals to such categories as jewelry and shoes. Now Seegal must steer Nautica, which has struggled with weak sales and an inconsistent image, to calmer seas.