Nissan Puts More Executives on Bus to Mitsubishi

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Nissan is remaking Mitsubishi Motors in its own image, restructuring it into a more multinational organization with a less traditional Japanese hierarchy. The automotive arm of the tri-diamond keiretsu has already undergone early changes to revamp production and take advantage of its new role within the Franco-Japanese alliance after selling a controlling stake to Nissan in October for $2.29 billion.

Now Nissan is further shuffling the deck in Mitsubishi’s boardroom to better represent a company within the Renault-Nissan partnership. The management changes place more foreigners and a woman in top executive roles, ending the company’s long-standing practice of promoting employees based exclusively on seniority.

“We will make this year the first year for creating a more diverse corporate culture and aim to wean off from the seniority-based system,” Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko said in a conference call with Automotive News.

Under the revamped system, Mitsubishi will fill 27 of its highest-ranking executive roles with non-Japanese executives. It will also promote its first female vice president, Yasuko Takazawa, who will oversee the company’s legal affairs.

Mitsubishi’s Chief Operating Officer Trevor Mann, before the only non-Japanese executive and one of the first wave of executives installed by Nissan in October, will be joined by six more Nissan executives by April 1st.

Guillaume Cartier, Nissan’s senior vice president of sales and marketing in Europe, will join Mitsubishi as its corporate vice president in charge of global marketing and sales.

Vincent Cobee, Nissan’s current corporate vice president for the global Datsun brand, will switch to Mitsubishi as its corporate vice president responsible for product strategies. Jose Roman, vice president in charge of sales and marketing for Nissan in Latin America, will replace Cobee at Datsun.

Naoya Fujimoto, Nissan’s vice president for product development, will oversee project management at Mitsubishi. And Takahide Tsujitani will move to Mitsubishi as its corporate vice president for alliance procurement. Tsujitani, who was part of purchasing at Nissan, was invaluable in coordinating joint acquisitions within the Renault alliance.

Mitsubishi CEO Masuko said the company and Nissan are now focused on identifying areas of combined cost savings and improved corporate efficiency. While it’s already looking into platform sharing and streamlining production, the company hopes to announce an official strategy plan by the end of this year.

[Image: Bernat Agullo/ Flickr ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Mar 14, 2017

    Looks like Mitsubishi going to get a good work over. Changes are coming. When large changes start at the top you will see change filter down to the bottom. Seniority based promotion allows for sh!t to float to the top. A woman is a good move. I would like to have seen more women moved up and in. I would assume Mitsubishi would have cultural issues with that. It will take 5-7 years to change Mistsubishi and to fully integrate with Nissan.

  • Paragon Paragon on Mar 14, 2017

    "On the bus to Mitsubishi." Anything like the Last Train to Clarksville?

    • Johnster Johnster on Mar 16, 2017

      Or maybe "Under the bus to Mitsubishi?" Some people like challenges and some are just masochists.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
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  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.