Jared Haslam, 44
Vice president of product planning, Nissan North America
Big break: Being appointed global planning lead for the second-generation Nissan Leaf, allowing him to direct product strategy for the EV’s global introduction
Jared Haslam gets paid to figure out the future.
As Nissan North America’s product strategy and planning boss, Haslam is charged with figuring out what the auto industry landscape will look like in the next 10, 15, 20 years while also executing on the wave of products currently entering the market.
“I enjoy connecting the dots,” he said. “I enjoy trying to thread the needle.”
Figuring out what’s next in the auto industry is a game of educated guesses.
Electrification, mobility and digitalization are making huge waves, Haslam said.
“How we plan for those, how we prepare for those — that is, by far, the most exciting part of my job right now,” he said. “Most challenging, but most exciting.”
With a mechanical engineering degree and an MBA, Haslam is equipped with the tools for the job.
“Planning brings together both disciplines in a really fascinating and unique way,” he said. “I have to be able to talk to engineering, marketing, finance and understand the challenges they have.”
Haslam began his auto career at Ford before moving to Nissan in 2007, where he has steadily ascended the corporate ranks.
His big break came in 2014, when he was appointed global planning lead for the second-generation Nissan Leaf, which launched in the U.S. in 2018.
That role required a move to Japan for nearly two and a half years, where Haslam directed product plans and strategy for the vehicle’s global introduction.
“I sort of became the de facto EV planning guy in the globe for Nissan,” Haslam said. “I got exposure to the highest levels of the company and was in meetings with the highest echelons of the company, talking about EV strategy.”
The project was much bigger than just a car, Haslam said. The Leaf was a big step forward for Nissan and represented an aggressive move in electrification. The second-generation Leaf is a “steppingstone for the future development of our EVs,” he said.
The assignment catapulted Haslam higher in the product planning organization.
In 2016, he was put in charge of the development of the automaker’s global electric vehicle strategy, serving as Nissan’s liaison with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
“We were looking for ways to share technologies, platforms, parts and componentry,” Has- lam said.
The executive credits Nissan’s lean organization with helping employees get professional exposure quickly.
“There is a tremendous amount of autonomy, responsibility and empowerment given to all levels of the company,” Haslam said. “Candidly, I was shocked when I joined Nissan. Within a month or two, they said, ‘Hey, you got to go to Japan. There’s a big meeting, and you’re representing the U.S. for this program.’?”
— Urvaksh Karkaria