For almost a year now, Nissan has had to go through some very tough times. Carlos Ghosn's highly publicized fall from grace was just the start, followed by the poor financial results at the end of the fiscal year 2018, and capped by the resignation of CEO Hiroto Saikawa.
Nissan needed not to turn a page but turn a chapter, and after a long period of what we can only speculate must be tough deliberations that seemed more like the election of a new Pope, they have found what they needed.
Nissan Motor Company has just announced that its board of directors has elected Makoto Uchida to be their new Chief Executive Officer. The incoming Japanese CEO has had a series of posts in Nissan, though most notably he has been the company's head for their operations in the massive Chinese market with Dongfeng. China has been critical to Nissan, following dips in sales in the U.S. and Europe.
Joining him at the top will be Ashwani Gupta as Chief Operating Officer. The Indian executive has had a long career in the auto industry with Honda, Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Motors. In fact, Gupta was appointed as COO of Mitsubishi Motors, prior to being tapped to be COO of Nissan. Gupta was also at the Philippine premiere of the Nissan Terra as he was the head of the LCV business for Nissan.
The third executive elected by Nissan's board is Jun Seki as Vice-Chief Operating Officer who is an engineer by trade. He has held several posts for Nissan such as performance recovery, manufacturing, powertrains, and more. He was also part of Nissan's operations in China.
“The board concluded that Uchida is the right leader to drive the business forward. Nissan’s Nomination Committee led the nomination process and assessed candidates thoroughly in line with the new three-committee governance structure established in June,” said Yasushi Kimura, Chairman of the Board of Nissan.
“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,” continued Kimura.
The new appointments will take effect no later than January 1, 2020.
Interestingly enough, Uchida has had a storied stint in the Philippines, but not with Nissan. He was previously a senior executive of Mitsubishi Motor Philippines (through Nissho Iwai Corp.) back in the 1990s and remains close personal friends with several people in the domestic industry such as George Blaylock of Diamond Motors.
Uchida was actually instrumental in connecting Blaylock to become the Philippine dealer for Dongfeng Motors; the company that Uchida has led as president since April 2018.