TOKYO -- Trevor Mann, the outgoing COO of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and longtime Nissan production and purchasing guru, says his envisioned career path went off track when Carlos Ghosn, his boss at both companies, was abruptly arrested last year and ejected as chairman.
Mann, 57, expected to be preparing, at this stage in his career, to take a newly created senior-level position within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance in either Paris or Amsterdam.
That position was part of Ghosn's wider plan for knitting the alliance more closely together. It was envisioned as something akin to a competitive officer for the entire group, charged with pulling together engineering, manufacturing and purchasing at the three companies, Mann said.
And critically, Mann says, the new position would have brought the British-born executive closer to his wife and four adult children, after seven years of being stationed in Japan without them.
Mann would have started sometime in the fiscal year from April 1. Instead, the plan unraveled following Ghosn's stunning Nov. 19 arrest. Mann detailed the denouement in an interview on Wednesday, just a week after the surprise announcement he would be leaving the group.
"Now, there is no role within the alliance of a similar standing," Mann said from the 30th floor of Mitsubishi Motors' gleaming new global headquarters overlooking Tokyo Bay. "There's no role. So, then I need to decide what I do with my life. So, it goes back to the family."
Mann said he will return to Britain after leaving Mitsubishi at the end of this month, 34 years after joining Nissan as a team leader at its assembly plant in Sunderland, England.
Replacing him as Mitsubishi COO, effective April 1, will be Ashwani Gupta, currently senior vice president for global commercial vehicles at the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.