TOKYO -- Nissan Motor President and Chairman Carlos Ghosn will step down as president and CEO and will be replaced by Co-CEO Hiroto Saikawa on April 1, the automaker said Thursday. Ghosn will become chairman with representation rights.
Statement by Nissan
At the recommendation of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn, the Nissan Board of Directors has decided that as of April 1, 2017, Hiroto Saikawa will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer. Mr. 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.
This planned management evolution follows Mr. 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.
As Chairman of all three Alliance companies, and as Chief Executive Officer of the Renault Group, Mr. 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.
Mr. Ghosn stated, "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. 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."
He continued, "As Nissan's Chairman, I will 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. I am committed to supporting the Alliance as it evolves and expands, and will continue to serve each member of the Alliance wherever and whenever necessary."
Mr. Saikawa currently serves as Nissan's co-CEO and a representative director. Between April 2013 and October 2016, he was Nissan's Chief Competitive Officer. Mr. 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. In addition to his responsibilities at Nissan, Mr. Saikawa is 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.
Mr. Saikawa stated, "I would like to thank Mr. Ghosn and the Nissan board for entrusting me with this new responsibility. Under Mr. Ghosn's chairmanship and with the support of the excellent leadership team that has been built at Nissan, my focus will be delivering our company's continued performance and development and on continuing Nissan's contribution to the success of the Alliance."