Nissan shifts Diaz to truck VP; Canada president replaces him as senior sales VP
Several management changes announced in reorganization
NASHVILLE -- The launch of its redesigned 2016 Titan XD pickup later this month has prompted Nissan North America to move several executives into new posts.
The company announced late Tuesday that Fred Diaz, senior vice president for U.S. sales and marketing and operations, will take on a new position dedicated to truck sales in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with the title of vice president.
That post will combine Titan and Frontier sales and marketing initiatives with Nissan’s fledgling commercial vehicle operations for the first time.
Nissan said Diaz’s move is intended to “place more focus on trucks and light commercial vehicles, which are key opportunity areas for Nissan with the launch of the all-new TITAN XD and other truck products."
Prior to joining Nissan in 2013, Diaz, 49, had been CEO of Chrysler’s Ram truck brand.
“We are now poised to capitalize on the significant investments we have made in our trucks with the launch of the all-new Nissan Titan,” Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz said in a statement released by the company tonight, “and these changes will support our ability to do so.”
Nissan has been a bit player in the full-sized pickup segment since first launching the Titan in late 2003. Later this year, the company will launch a series of newly redesigned larger and more powerful Titan configurations, starting with the Titan XD that is powered by a Cummins V-8 diesel engine.
Diaz’s reassignment will trigger several key executive changes at Nissan. All changes take effect on Jan. 1.
Christian Meunier, 48, will move from his post as president of Nissan Canada to replace Diaz as senior vice president, Nissan sales and marketing and operations, over both the U.S. and Canadian markets. He will in addition hold the title of chairman of Nissan Canada.
Meunier has lifted Nissan’s sales results in Canada during his three-year assignment there. Nissan has gone from a market share of barely 5 percent to over 7 percent currently. Through November, Nissan sold 120,500 vehicles in Canada, up from 115,445 during the 12 months of 2014.
Dan Mohnke, who has been vice president of U.S. sales and marketing for the past few months as the automaker planned the reorganization, will become vice president, Nissan Division chief marketing manager and marketing operations.
Replacing him in the sales role will be Judy Wheeler, 54, currently vice president for Nissan’s Southeast Region.
She will be responsible for U.S. sales activity, policies and objectives, “with a focus on increasing revenue and profit generation for the Nissan brand and dealer network,” the company said in a statement.
Munoz said the management changes will help Nissan meet the goals of Carlos Ghosn’s “Power 88” mid-term business plan. That plan wants Nissan to reach a 10 percent U.S. market share -- up from 7.2 percent as of the end of November.
Nissan brand sales totaled 1,227,213 through November, up 5 percent from the same period in 2014.
Munoz has said that bigger truck sales and more commercial van business will be an important part of that market share improvement. So far this year, Nissan has sold only 11,122 Titans, which has grown uncompetitive in recent years.
Other changes include:
- Billy Hayes, who previously left Nissan to work for Southeast Toyota Distributors Inc., will return to Nissan to replace Wheeler as vice president over the southeast region in Atlanta. Hayes had been a key manager in Nissan’s launch of the electric Leaf.
- Pierre Loing, vice president for North American product planning, will relocate to Japan to become divisional general manager over Global Lifecycle Management for the automaker.
- Michael Bunce, vice president over Nissan’s Light Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, will succeed Loing as vice president of product planning.
- Leon Dorssers, vice president for dealer network development, was promoted to corporate vice president responsible for global dealer network development for Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. In Japan.
- David Kershaw will become vice president for North American dealer network development. He is currently director of dealer network strategy, sales and marketing.
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