Carla Bailo was named as Nissan Motor Co.’s senior vice president in charge of research and development for the Americas region effective April 1. Bailo, who is 50 years old, was most recently based in Japan and was tasked to manage Nissan's relationships with automakers other than Nissan alliance partner Renault SA.
She also served as program director for Nissan's dramatic global profitability recovery campaign in 2009 after it fell into financial losses for the first time in a decade.
The appointment will make Bailo the highest ranking woman in Nissan's North American corporate ranks. She replaces Motohiro Matsumura at Nissan's suburban Detroit Farmington Hills, Mich., technical offices.
Matsumura, who currently holds the additional title of president of the Nissan Technical Center North America, will be going back to Japan for a new assignment.
The title of technical center president no longer exists. In Bailo’s new role at r&d, she will oversee an expanding mission for Nissan.
Aside from the usual flow of model redesigns and launches in North America, the U.S. r&d arm will be taking on added products, such as the Rogue crossover and Leaf electric car. She is also in-charge of introducing new models in markets such as Brazil and Chile.