Nissan's Carlos Ghosn steps down as chief executive

After serving as chief executive for almost two decades and saving the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will step down on April 1, 2017.

Nissan will hold its general shareholders meeting in June and Ghosn will seek a renewal of his mandate as its chairman at the meeting, said the automaker. His position to leave his post at Nissan comes as a surprise, but is understandable.

However, Mr Ghosn is not stepping far - he will retain the chairmanship of the Nissan board, along with the dual roles of chairman and CEO of the global Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Ghosn will become chairman and says he wishes to focus more on the recently expanded Renault-Nissan Alliance, which now includes Mitsubishi Motors.

Announcing the move, Mr Ghosn said he was confident that the management team he had developed at Nissan over the past 18 years had the talent and experience to meet the company's operational and strategic goals. Between April 2013 and October 2016, he was Nissan's Chief Competitive Officer.

The reshuffle would allow Ghosn to "focus on the group's alliance" with French automaker Renault and Japan's Mitsubishi, and was not linked to health or other problems, Nissan spokeswoman Keiko Hoshino told AFP.

Ghosn also serves as chairman for Mitsubishi, in which Nissan obtained a controlling stake in November.

New Nissan CEO Saikawa, who has been with the automaker since 1977, was elevated to the position of co-CEO alongside Ghosn when the Mitsubishi acquisition was completed. Saikawa also served on Renault's board from 2006 to 2016, and is chairman of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association, a lobbying group. A graduate of the prestigious University of Tokyo, he has overseen various operations at Nissan, which makes the March subcompact, Leaf electric vehicle and Infiniti luxury models.

  • Latoya Cobb