Ghosn to step down as Nissan CEO; Saikawa to take over from Apr

Saikawa, will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer on April 1, 2017


Japan's second largest automaker Nissan Motor Co on Thursday said its long-serving leader Carlos Ghosn will hand over the role of CEO to Hiroto Saikawa, a company veteran.

After leading the company for nearly two decades, Ghosn, the Chairman and CEO of Nissan at present, will focus on the functioning of "recent expansion of the Renault-Nissan Alliance to include Mitsubishi Motors".

Saikawa, currently the co-CEO of Nissan, will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer on April 1, 2017, the company said in a statement.

"Ghosn will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors, and he will seek a renewal of his mandate at the company's general shareholders meeting in June 2017," it added.

Nissan said the change at the top management is being brought about at the recommendations of Ghosn.

"This planned management evolution follows Ghosn's leadership of the recent expansion of the Renault-Nissan Alliance to include Mitsubishi Motors, which positions the alliance among the top automotive groups in terms of scale," it said.

The statement further said: "As Chairman of all three Alliance companies, and as Chief Executive Officer of the Renault Group, Ghosn wishes to focus more of his attention on the expansion and stewardship of the Alliance, as its Chairman and CEO." 

In this role, he will ensure that the opportunities available to Alliance members are fully harnessed, it added.

Commenting on the change, Ghosn said: "I am confident that the management team I have developed at Nissan over the past 18 years has the talent and experience to meet the company's operational and strategic goals." 

He further said: "Having recently taken on new responsibilities at Mitsubishi Motors, and taking into consideration the upcoming Nissan general shareholders meeting, I have decided that the time is right for Hiroto Saikawa to succeed me as Nissan's CEO." 

Ghosn said as Nissan's Chairman, he would continue to supervise and guide the company, both independently and within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

"This planned change will also allow me to devote more time and energy to managing the strategic and operational evolution and expansion of the Alliance and ensuring that all its members benefit from the competitive advantages that its scale will deliver," he added.

Saikawa joined Nissan in 1977, and since 1999 he has served in a variety of senior management positions, including Chairman of the Management Committees of the Americas and Europe, as well as the Executive Vice President of Purchasing.

Between April 2013 and October 2016, he was Nissan's Chief Competitive Officer.

He is also the current Chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). He previously served as a member of the board of directors of Renault between 2006 and 2016.

PTI - Feb 24, 2017 12:00 IST