TOKYO -- Carlos Ghosn, the man credited with reviving the fortunes of Nissan Motor Co., told investors on Thursday he would remain at the controls even after taking on the top job at Renault in 2005.
"In 2005, I am not leaving Nissan," Ghosn said in an apparent effort to reassure the nearly 1,000 investors who gathered at Nissan's shareholder meeting in central Tokyo.
"I am still going to be president and chief executive officer of the company," he said after an investor asked him if his new job might affect the "Ghosn premium" on Nissan's share price.
Nissan shares extended gains on Thursday to close up 2.47 percent at 1,119 yen, after hitting a 13-year high on Wednesday.
The stock has leapt nearly 20 percent so far this year, outperforming the Nikkei average, which has risen 4.5 percent.
Ghosn will become president of Renault, which owns about 44 percent of Nissan, in 2005.
While retaining the CEO job at Nissan, the Brazilian-born executive is expected to vacate the chief operating officer position, which he has said would be taken over by a Japanese.
Since Ghosn took charge of Nissan in 1999, the company has cleared most of its debt and improved profitability.
In the business year that ended on March 31, Nissan posted a group operating profit of 737.2 billion yen, up 51 percent.
For this year, Nissan expects the operating profit to grow 11 percent and it plans to pay an annual dividend of 19 yen, up from 14 yen in 2002/03.
Ghosn said Nissan had the potential to improve performance and expand market share in coming years.
"I will be in charge of the strategy and I will be in charge and accountable for the results," he said.
Shareholders' meetings at major Japanese corporations kicked off today, with some confronting criticism from investors.