TOKYO (AP) _ Mazda Motor Corp. said Friday it has replaced its president Henry Wallace, the first foreigner to head a major Japanese company, amid a slump in sales.

Another non-Japanese, vice president James Miller, has replaced Wallace in the top post. No reason for the sudden retirement of Wallace, 52, was immediately given by the company.

The automaker, which is one-third owned by Ford Motor Co., posted a loss in May of 17.55 billion yen ($151.29 million) for the year ended in March. It had an 11.88 billion yen ($102.41 million) loss the year before.

Wallace, a Scot who had previously served as Ford's Venezuela division chief, took the job at Mazda in June 1996. That came shortly after the American automaker increased its stake in the 77-year old Hiroshima-based company to 33.4 percent.

Ford bought about 25 percent of Mazda in 1979.

Mazda's new president, 51-year old Miller, is an American who recently headed Ford's Eastern European and South African operations.