Nissan Names Makoto Uchida As CEO Charged With Leading Post-Ghosn Turnaround

Forbes Finance 2 months ago
Yasushi Kimura, chairman of Nissan Motor Co., left, speaks beside Masakazu Toyoda, chairman of nomination committee of Nissan Motor Co., during a news conference at the company's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Nissan named

Nissan named Makoto Uchida its new CEO, a somewhat surprising choice in that he joined the automaker in mid-career, but he is seen as a supporter of Nissan’s alliance with Renault.  

Most recently he led Nissan’s joint venture in China.

Nissan’s board of directors also promoted Ashwani Gupta to chief operating officer. Previously he held that same title with Nissan partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Jun Seki, who was considered a candidate for the CEO job, will become vice chief operating officer.

The second largest Japanese automaker is in the midst of a financial and cultural turnaround, following last November’s arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn on charges of financial misconduct, which he continues to deny.

Ghosn was charged with illegally enriching himself by about $5 million. Nissan also faces charges of underreporting Ghosn’s compensation by 9.1 billion yen, or about $85 million, over 10 years.

Last month, Hiroto Saikawa, who succeeded Ghosn stepped down after an audit that was launched in the wake of the Ghosn’s firing implicated Saikawa and other Nissan executives. Specifically, the audit found that Saikawa inflated his compensation by 47 million yen ($440,000), allegedly by altering the terms of a bonus.

While Uchida, 53, didn’t come to Nissan until 2003, he is seen as having a positive relationship with French automaker Renault, which owns 43% of Nissan in an alliance that Ghosn led for about two decades. Nissan owns about 15% of Renault, but has no voting rights.

“Strong leadership is required,” Yasushi Kimura, Nissan’s chairman, said at a news conference. “Group leadership, where they all support each other, will be more transparent.”

A source close to Renault described Uchida’s promotion to Reuters as “a victory for the alliance.

Ghosn, before the scandal broke, was working toward a full merger of Renault and Nissan, but some Nissan executives resisted the effort.

Further complicating the matter was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)’s proposal in May to merge its business with Renault. That idea fizzled when the French government, which holds a 15% stake in Renault, announced it could not decide quickly on the proposal.

Meanwhile, Nissan’s financial performance has fallen below investors’ expectations for the past year.

In July, the company said its profit for the period ended June 30, fell about 94.5% from a year earlier, and global sales fell nearly 7%. It also said it would lay off up to 12,500 workers. These cost cutting moves come as global auto sales are falling and manufacturers are spending heavily on technologies such as self-driving cars and electrified powertrains, the profitability of which remains uncertain.

An associate of Uchida’s described the new CEO to Reuters as un-Japanese in his management style, or “very direct in his language, to the point, easy to understand.”

He speaks fluent English and worked directly with Renault on purchasing matters.

Before coming to Nissan in 2003, Uchida worked for Nissho Iwai, now owned by the trading house Sojitz. He graduated from Doshisha University in Kyoto with a degree in theology.

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Washington Times › 2 months ago
Nissan names a senior vice president in charge of its China business, Makoto Uchida, to be its new CEO.
The Wall Street Journal › Finance › 2 months ago
Nissan Motor’s board tapped the head of its China business, Makoto Uchida, as the next chief executive. The board also picked a deputy for the new CEO with close ties to Renault and the alliance of the two auto makers.
The New York Times › Finance › 2 months ago
Mr. Uchida takes over as the company faces its biggest challenges in nearly two decades. It comes a year after the ouster of former C.E.O., Carlos Ghosn.
Reuters › Finance › 1 month ago
Nissan Motor Co's incoming chief executive Makoto Uchida told employees on Friday that his mission is to "restore business performance and regain trust in Nissan".
Reuters › Finance › 2 months ago
The board of Nissan Motor Co has picked Senior Vice President Makoto Uchida as its next chief executive and Ashwani Gupta as its chief operating officer, two sources said on Tuesday, following a board meeting of the scandal-hit automaker.
Forbes › 2 months ago
Uchida needs to deal with the emotional, personal and business issues - in that order.
One America News Network › Finance › 2 months ago
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Nissan Motor Co will appoint Senior Vice President Makoto Uchida as chief executive officer, the Nikkei newspaper said on Tuesday.
One America News Network › Finance › 1 month ago
BEIJING (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co's incoming chief executive Makoto Uchida told employees in a video message on its internal website on Friday that his mission is to "restore business performance
The New York Times › Finance › 1 week ago
Nissan Motor Co chief executive Makoto Uchida said on Monday that he would work to improve the automaker's financial performance and co-operate closely with alliance partner Renault SA, while maintaining Nissan's independence.
The New York Times › Finance › 2 months ago
Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. has named the head of its China business, Makoto Uchida, to be its new CEO.
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