Director, electric vehicles marketing and sales strategy, Nissan Motor Co.
Big break: Being tapped for a stint at Nissan’s global headquarters, helping him develop relationships with key executives and better understand how the organization operates globally
Aditya Jairaj is on the front lines of Nissan’s transformation toward an electric future.
The Japanese automaker expects electric vehicles to account for 40 percent of its U.S. sales by 2030. To get there, Nissan is reshaping its lineup with a fleet of zero-emission sedans, crossovers and pickups.
As director of electric vehicles marketing and sales strategy, Jairaj is working to ensure that Nissan and its retailers are ready when those models come to market.
“We are the change agents that have to highlight what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and also be the ones who actually get it done,” said Jairaj. “As we shift toward EVs, it is maybe less about just the product but more about other elements of the ecosystem — such as access to charging infrastructure — which will make our product a winning product.”
Jairaj, a mechanical engineer by training, has spent more than three years preparing for the Ariya electric crossover to roll into U.S. stores this fall. It’s a pivotal launch for a brand that pioneered the EV segment more than a decade ago.
“We’ve got tremendous support from within Nissan,” Jairaj said. “With this also comes tremendous expectations.”
But this isn’t Jairaj’s first rodeo with a company-defining model.
He previously helped develop the marketing strategy of Nissan’s bread-and-butter nameplate, the Rogue.
Jairaj shepherded a midcycle update and later prepared the market for the arrival of the third generation of the compact crossover.
“That was a very significant job responsibility because the Rogue is the No. 1-selling nameplate for Nissan,” Jairaj said. “It’s very significant in terms of the profit it contributes.”
The auto enthusiast has spent his career in the industry, and about a quarter of his life at Nissan.
Born and raised in Bengaluru — the Silicon Valley of India — Jairaj’s first job out of engineering school was on the shop floor at TVS Motor Co., the third-largest two-wheeler company in India.
In 2011, he moved to the U.S. to pursue a business degree at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
“I spent two years in business school and spent a lot of money,” he said. “So it was important that what I would do after that, I should be happy doing it. And auto made me happy.”
During nearly a decade at Nissan, Jairaj has worked in supply chain, dealer operations, marketing and sales. He’s done a tour at Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, and he worked on product launches in Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.
“Nissan gives you multinational, cross-functional opportunities like no other,” Jairaj said. “It is truly an international company.”
— Urvaksh Karkaria