TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co.'s move to streamline management last week strengthened the position of former Renault SA executives now at Nissan.
As part of a sweeping change of leaders on three continents, Nissan COO Carlos Ghosn will replace Yoshikazu Hanawa as president. Hanawa will remain Nissan's chairman and CEO. Those changes will be made official at a board meeting in late June.
Both men downplayed the significance of the move, noting that Ghosn effectively has been functioning as Nissan's president for months. 'This doesn't change anything in the day-to-day reality,' Ghosn said.
In other changes, Norio Matsumura, former head of Nissan's European operations, will take responsibility for both North America and Europe. He will be based in Tokyo, but will meet monthly with both regions' top executives responsible for manufacturing and purchasing, sales and marketing, research and development, and finance and administration.
'We are eliminating one layer of management. We want Tokyo to be in tune with North America, Europe and the regions,' Ghosn said. Until now, he added, there were 'too many walls within the regions, within the functions.'
Former Renault executives will take charge of Nissan's global finances, information systems and marketing. Renault acquired a 36.8 percent stake in Nissan last April.
Thierry Moulonguet moves up from deputy CFO and senior vice president to become CFO and executive vice president for finance and information systems, effective April 1. The current CFO, Kanemitsu Anraku, will leave the board but will become vice chairman responsible for external and government affairs. Those duties were previously handled by Hanawa.
'I spend considerable time on the Renault alliance, so I needed someone' to take over those other tasks, Hanawa said. In response to a question, Hanawa, 66, said, 'I have not even considered the possibility of resigning.'
Jean-Jacques Le Goff will head global marketing. He is the general manager of Nissan's corporate planning department.
Yukio Kitahora will return to Japan as senior vice president in charge of Nissan's worldwide parts business from his post as senior vice president of Nissan North America Inc. His current boss, Nissan North America President Nobuo Araki, will become president of Nissan affiliate Tennex Co., a maker of air cleaners and fuel filters.
Nissan Europe N.V. President Sir Ian Gibson will retire but will stay on as a member of the Nissan Europe supervisory board.
The restructuring also has had an impact on the North American arm.
Jed Connelly has been promoted to senior vice president of sales and marketing of Nissan North America. He replaces Yuki Kitahora, who returns to Japan as head the worldwide parts business unit.