By on January 25, 2019

Image: Nissan

Claiming he wants a fresh start for the scandal-rocked Renault-Nissan Alliance, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa announced on Friday his intention to move aside in the coming months, giving someone else a chance to run the company.

Alliance partner Renault divested itself of former CEO Carlos Ghosn this week, two months after the executive’s Tokyo arrest. With this in mind, Saikawa, who denounced the alliance boss at length following news of his arrest, suggested a change in leadership would be a good thing for Nissan, too. However, there’s work to be done first.

According to Bloomberg, the 65-year-old president and CEO, who rose to the big office in April of 2017, wants to “pass the baton.”

Before attaining the top spot at Nissan, Saikawa served as co-CEO following a three-year stint as chief competitive officer. A Nissan lifer, Saikawa joined the company in 1977, eventually proving himself a shrewd manager who followed Ghosn’s orders to the letter.

Ghosn’s arrest strained the two-decade relationship between the two automakers. Nissan was first to expose Ghosn’s alleged wrongdoings; yesterday’s ouster of Ghosn from Renault and replacement by new chairman Jean-Dominique Senard could go a long way to mending that rift. Now, Saikawa wants his company to do its part. Bloomberg reports the chief executive wants to shake up the automaker’s top ranks before leaving, blaming poor governance for its recent woes.

Last year, amid falling profits, Nissan abandoned its volume chasing ways, slashing incentives in a bid to firm up the automaker’s balance sheet.

In a Friday press conference, Saikawa said Renault’s new boss is “someone I respect fully,” before pouring ice water on any talk of a full merger between the two companies.

[Image: Nissan]

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5 Comments on “Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa to Step Down, but Only After Taking Out Some Trash...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Since he’s not a foreigner, I’m guessing he won’t have to worry about seeing the inside of a jail cell.

  • avatar
    mdanda

    So Ghosn intends to fire Saikawa and merge Nissan with Renault, but the Japanese government says, no, we really don’t want you to do that so we’ll arrest you instead. Okay, got it. But Saikawa doesn’t keep his job after all and he ends up retiring anyway….hmmmm….

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Well, now they get to influence who will be chosen as successor. And they can “prove” that Ghosn’s plans for Saikawa’s firing had “nothing to do with the criminal proceedings”.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Ghosn doesn’t look that guilty, according to an article in the Nikkei, Japan’s leading business daily. Nissan is looking more and more like a complete bunch of xenophobic backstabbers and incompetents at the top:

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Ghosn-charges-are-thin-soup-case-for-ex-Nissan-boss

    Read that and wonder, especially now the SEC is going after some Nissan disclosures as it affected business in the US. Ramen and rice, no heat in the cell, no bed and stone floor, and character assassination by repeatedly bringing new charges to prolong incarceration prior to trial – all in a day’s work for the Japanese legal system by the look of it. Medieval as I see it.


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