Nissan Motor Co. chief executive Carlos Ghosn wants a Japanese leader to replace him as the carmaker’s top honcho. Ghosn has been leading Nissan for 14 years. After eliminating the COO post held by Toshiyuki Shiga and reshuffling the carmaker’s top management, he remarked that while Nissan's diverse management is unrivaled by any other manufacturer, it is important to reinstate a Japanese leader at the top when he eventually steps down.
"It's symbolic, and we have plenty of Japanese talent,” Ghosn told Automotive News in an interview. He added that he wants Nissan to be continued to be seen as a Japanese company. He noted that around half of Nissan's top 100 managers are non-Japanese representing 17 nationalities.
Of Nissan’s eight executive vice presidents, one is American and three are British. Ghosn is a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese descent.
Under Ghosn’s leadership, there has been an influx of foreign executives at Nissan. In 2001, Nissan only had five foreigners from the 27 officers at or above the level of senior vice president.
Now, seven of 21 officers are foreigners. On Nov. 1, 2013, Ghosn got rid of the COO post and named Shiga as chairman, which is a largely ceremonial role.
Filling to play the COO roles were Japanese Hiroto Saikawa, and Britons Andy Palmer and Trevor Mann. Nissan’s CFO is American Joseph Peter. Ghosn remarked at the time that the management reshuffling was partly aimed at injecting younger blood into the executive suite to drive a smooth hand-over of control someday.