Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Stepping Down After 16 Years In Position

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The CEO of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn (62), will be stepping down after 16 years in that role, according to recent reports. The move will reportedly allow Ghosn to focus on the deployment of “his cost-cutting expertise” across the alliance — at Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, in addition to Nissan.

Taking over the position as CEO will be a 40-year veteran of the company named Hiroto Saikawa, who was named as a co-CEO last November. Saikawa is also the head of Japan’s auto industry lobby.

Notably, Ghosn will continue to hold his position as Nissan’s Chairman, as well as his positions as Chairman at Renault and Mitsubishi.

Ghosn will also remain as Renault’s CEO and stay heavily involved with the French firm. This is, according to Reuters, a sign “of the depth of problems he still sees at the French automaker.”

In an interview with Reuters, he stated: “There are still lots of things to be done inside the company in order to make its growth sustainable and lasting and solid.”

Here’s more from Reuters:

“While he did not elaborate on the issues he planned to tackle, deeper capital ties with Nissan have been stymied by the French government’s lifting of its stake in Renault to around 20% with little warning to Ghosn or the board.

“Tightening emissions regulations have also exposed strains in the Nissan-Renault alliance as plans to integrate their engines and gearboxes have moved much slower than management had hoped for.

“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. Unafraid to trample over long-standing business customs, he became a hero in Japan and one of the auto industry’s best known executives.”

Ghosn’s replacement as Nissan CEO is reportedly made from a similar mold. He’s also known as a veteran cost-cutter, with a lot of experience in purchasing and supply chains.

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

Ghosn will now be working to improve the viability of alliance members Renault and Mitsubishi so that they are not so dependent upon Nissan. This will be accompanied not only through cost cutting and leveraging the enormous production scale available to the alliance (which now possesses a similar production volume to Toyota and VW Group), but also through an improvement of competitiveness through the embrace of electric vehicles and self-driving vehicle technologies.

Top photo by Ecole polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay (some rights reserved)


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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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