Corporate vice president, Nissan Motor Co.
Chosen because: Watanabe, 44, has been the point man for propagating the business surrounding Nissan's zero-emission Leaf throughout the global Renault-Nissan Alliance. Carlos Ghosn's vision calls for a worldwide consumer embrace of battery-powered transportation. That requires the two far-flung automakers to share electric-vehicle technologies, suppliers, planning and know-how, and that is where Watanabe comes in.
Quote: "Our Alliance will have the cars on the road," he said in a Renault-Nissan blog during the Geneva auto show in March. "To have an attractive vehicle on the road is an entry ticket. But with those cars, we will have to build up business models, new business services, new revenue flows, in order to create a new zero-emission mobility. And that will be the future strength of the Alliance."