By on March 14, 2017

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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)]

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