Jeremie Papin has spent the past year attempting to stabilize a listing ship.
Last June, he was elevated to vice chairman of North America to lead Nissan Motor Co.'s critical U.S. market — a business buffeted by sinking sales and dissatisfied dealers.
Since then, Papin has steered Nissan through a product overhaul and has led a strategic pivot away from the aggressive pursuit of market share championed by former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn. While a formidable task in the best of market conditions, these initiatives have been orchestrated by Papin during the dual crises of a pandemic and a global microprocessor shortage, both playing havoc with vehicle production plans.
The past year has been "about changing the way we did business, further exacerbated by the pandemic and all the disruption it brought," the French native said. "It's a real opportunity to reset a lot of the ways we were doing business, including how we interact with dealers and suppliers."
Papin, 47, a former finance executive, is on a fast track at the Japanese automaker. In April, he took over as chairman of the Americas, giving him oversight of Nissan's operations across North and South America. It was a return to a management structure across the hemisphere that Nissan adopted in 2007 to increase market penetration in Latin America. That strategy was abandoned in 2014 as Nissan turned its focus to driving U.S. share. Papin is also a senior vice president.
The re-creation of the Americas region is about integrating Nissan's Latin America operations with the Mexico business. It's an opportunity to "streamline support operations" and enable faster decision-making, Papin said.
He spoke last month with Staff Reporter Urvaksh Karkaria about Nissan's business transformation plan and mending factory-dealer relations. Here are edited excerpts.