By on October 9, 2019

2016 Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X Grille, Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Early reports out of Japan Tuesday indicated Nissan’s replacement for former CEO Hiroto Saikawa had been found, and the company’s board soon confirmed it. First reported by Nikkei, the automaker’s board has tapped Senior Vice President Makoto Uchida to sit in the big chair.

Uchida, 53, took on his current role in 2018; he also heads China’s Dongfeng Motor Company — a 50-50 joint venture between the two automakers. The executive joined Nissan back in 2003.

Uchida has no shortage of issues he’ll have to grapple with.

As the company deals with the fallout of former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest and impending trail, as well as internal investigations into improper compensation that sunk Saikawa (and could take down a number of execs), there’s also the thorny issues of sales and revenue. Nissan intends to get its ship in order, culling thousands of positions globally while holding the line on incentives and fleet sales to firm up its financial footing.

Sales really aren’t doing well, if last month’s North American figures tell us anything.

Besides his long history with Nissan, Uchida has also thrown himself into projects with alliance partner Renault, which should help keep the rocky pair-up intact. He also knows a thing about growth, having dealt with the Chinese market these past couple of years.

Joining Uchida in Nissan’s C-suite is Ashwani Gupta, tapped for the chief operating officer position. It’s a position he’s quite familiar with, having served as COO for alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors. Before that, Gupta spent years working for Renault in both India and France. Clearly, there’s an attempt to calm the alliance waters here. Serving under Gupta is Nissan Senior Vice President Jun Seki, named to the position of vice-chief operating officer.

“The board concluded that Uchida is the right leader to drive the business forward,” said Nissan board chair Yasushi Kimura in a statement.

“Nissan’s Nomination Committee led the nomination process and assessed candidates thoroughly in line with the new three-committee governance structure established in June. We expect Uchida to lead the company as one team, immediately focus on the recovery of the business and revitalize the company. We look forward to Gupta and Seki fully leveraging their expertise and experience to support the new CEO.”

Job One (of Many) for Uchida? Eliminating “rock bottom.”

[Images: Nissan]

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2 Comments on “Nissan Picks a New CEO to Deal With Its Mess...”

  • avatar

    For over 20 years, Nissan has slid downward in design, engineering, quality, etc. They make subpar products. Everyone knows. It’s no secret what they need to do.

    Like Ford, they don’t appear willing to invest in making higher quality products and instead let the accountants make the decisions that designers and engineers should be making.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t know about “quality,” but Ford the Alu truck, 10 speed tranny, Raptor, ST, GT etc. company; doesn’t seem to fit the “accountants” making decisions paradigm very well…. It may not look like it post successful hoc, but betting the future of one of automobiledom’s most reliable pillars (the F150) on hitherto unproven material and attendant production and service processes, has little to do with accountants; and everything to do with (somehwat at least) blind trust in a bunch of “crazy” ex aerospace guys with a superiority complex.

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