Jack Collins, vice president of product planning at Nissan North America Inc., will retire this year rather than relocate with the company to Nashville, Tenn.
Collins, 59, is one of 12 senior Nissan U.S. executives who won't join the relocation of the headquarters from suburban Los Angeles, Nissan spokesman Fred Standish confirmed. He declined to identify the other 11.
The company gave its 60 directors, vice presidents and senior vice president-level officials until Wednesday, Feb. 1, to declare their intentions. Of those 60, 48 have said they will make the move to Nashville, three have decided to take retirement, and nine have said they will leave the company.
Collins has been in his current role since 1999, but he has been a major player at Nissan since the early 1990s.
He was broomed as part of a boardroom skirmish in 1997 led by then-Nissan North America CEO Bob Thomas. But the Japanese senior staff re-hired Collins and transferred him to their Nissan Europe division in Amsterdam.
When Thomas ran into his own troubles and left Nissan a year later, the Japanese quickly brought Collins back to the United States.
Collins is widely thought of as one of the most brilliant product planners in the automotive business, and one who sparks tremendous loyalty among his subordinates.
The rest of the 1,200 employees at the California headquarters have until April to decide whether to relocate with Nissan.
The automaker plans to occupy an office building in downtown Nashville until 2008, when a new dedicated headquarters building is completed in an office park outside Nashville in Franklin, Tenn.
Staff Reporter Mark Rechtin contributed to this report
You may e-mail Lindsay Chappell at [email protected]