Published: Sat, February 25, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Nissan's next CEO an expert deal-maker with low profile

Current CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is considered as the key person behind turning around the Japanese company, will continue his role as chairman in the company. "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", said Ghosn.

After all, Ghosn is already the chief executive of the Renault Group, the chairman of the Nissan-Renault Alliance and the new chairman of Mitsubishi.

Mr Ghosn will seek a renewal of his mandate from shareholders at Nissan's general meeting in June.

"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", Ghosn said Thursday.

Known as "Le Cost Killer" from his earlier careers at Renault and Michelin, Ghosn burnished his reputation by engineering Nissan's comeback from years of losses and debt. This gave Nissan a lease of life from the deathbed and Ghosn was named Nissan's chief executive in 2001.

Saikawa, who now serves as the company's co-CEO, will take over for Nissan's long-time chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Given how quickly the decision to step down follows on Saikawa's installation as co-CEO late a year ago, it seems that things have been going well enough with regard to that move that Ghosn doesn't see a need to stay on.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of French automaker Renault, gestures during the presentation of the group's 2016 results at the group's headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt on February 10, 2017. Outside Nissan, Saikawa is chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

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