Carlos Ghosn was the iconic figure of Nissan Motors. After 18 years at the helm of Nissan, he wanted to pass the torch. Hiroto Saikawa was appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer effective April 1. Mr. Ghosn will remain Chairman of the Board of Directors, which he will have to renew at the general meeting of shareholders scheduled for June.
Mr. Saikawa is not a newcomer to the company since he joined Nissan in 1977. He is currently co-CEO and Deputy Director. From April 2013 to October 2016, he was Head of Competition at Nissan. Since 1999, he has held various senior management positions including President of the Management Committees of the Americas and Europe and Executive Vice President of Procurement. In addition, Mr. Saikawa is currently President of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). He also served on the Board of Directors of Renault from 2006 to 2016.
However, Carlos Ghosn does not retire. Since the arrival of Mitsubishi Motors in the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Mr. Ghosn has assumed new responsibilities with the new partner. Mr. Ghosn remains Chairman of the Alliance and Chief Executive Officer of the Renault Group.
As Mr. Ghosn will still be chairman of Nissan's board of directors, he will continue to guide the company. It will also put more time and energy on the management and evolution of the Alliance and its expansion. It is undeniable that with the arrival of Mitsubishi within the group, additional synergies are certainly possible.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance was created on March 27, 1999 when several manufacturers were looking for partners. Other alliances have emerged, including DaimlerChrysler today dissolved, but none has been as successful as the Renault-Nissan Alliance. It was this association that saved Nissan from bankruptcy in the early 2000s.
Carlos Ghosn received the Japanese government's Japan Medal with Blue Ribbon in 2004 for reviving Nissan. It is a medal given to individuals who have done meritorious deeds.