The shuffle is the latest in a string of senior management changes at Nissan in Japan and North America, and it comes as the parent company prepares to deliver a new midterm business plan that will prioritize a U.S. recovery for the automaker.
Global COO Ashwani Gupta, the architect of that new strategy, told Automotive News last week the keys to the plan will be improved dealer relations and a refreshed product lineup. The plan is expected to be announced May 28.
Gupta praised Valls for helping repair U.S. dealer relations, and he said the regional business is still in good hands with Papin's financial expertise and Colleran's local market knowledge.
Before taking the top post at the Infiniti brand in April 2019, Colleran's resume included management stints at Infiniti Americas, Nissan Division, Cadillac and Saab.
Gupta added that, going forward, he himself will maintain close oversight of U.S. operations.
"In our midterm plan, the U.S. is going to play a very important role," Gupta said. "That's why we have a new leadership team in place. And in addition to the leadership team, I'm going to oversee it myself personally to make sure that the U.S. gets all the attention which is needed, in terms of products, in terms of technology, in terms of resources."
Nissan executives have been laboring to rekindle North America as an earnings engine for the Japanese company. The U.S. is Nissan's second-biggest market after China. But the North American business is dogged by strained dealer relations and sagging profitability as it tries to shift away from costly factory incentives and the heavy use of fleet sales, which complicate the automaker's brand image and vehicle values.
Nissan Group's U.S. sales tumbled 30 percent through March in an overall market that was down 12 percent. Its market share shrank to 7.3 percent from 9.1 percent.