Monday, March 11, 2013
DJ: Nissan Rejigs Mgmt In Bid To Boost Sales, Competitiveness
TOKYO--Nissan Motor Co. (7201) said Monday it was strengthening its management structure with the appointment of two new senior vice presidents and the creation of a new senior post to improve competitiveness, as it looks to turn around slowing sales momentum.
Japan's second-largest car maker by volume also revised the duties of Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga, who will now take charge of Nissan's zero emission vehicle planning and strategy and its global battery business unit in addition to his other duties.
"These appointments are the second phase of changes we have made in recent months to strengthen both our global and regional management teams," said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan president and CEO, in a statement released Monday.
Nissan announced changes to its regional leadership structure in December.
The company faces daunting challenges ahead as it comes out more hardened after a difficult period dealing with natural disasters that crippled its supply chain. Despite its success in making the fastest recovery from the disasters in Japan and Thailand, it was the only one of Japan's big three car makers to post a drop in profits in the third quarter of the current fiscal year ending this month.
In rejigging its management team, the Yokohama-based firm said it promoted Takao Asami to senior vice president in charge of planning and advanced engineering development. It has also brought in Bunsei Kure as senior vice president to oversee operations of affiliated companies in Asia. Mr. Kure resigned as chief executive of Nissan supplier Calsonic Kansei last week.
Nissan named Executive Vice President Hiroto Saikawa as chief competitive officer, a new role created to sharpen its cost competitive edge by bringing manufacturing, supply chain management R&D and customer services under one executive. Mr. Saikawa will also continue in charge of purchasing for the Asian region.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shiga's responsibilities for quality control oversight will be shifted elsewhere.
Nissan has suffered more than its rivals from stumbling sales in China as territorial disputes between Tokyo and Beijing sparked a consumer backlash that dented sales of Japanese brand products. It was a particularly painful blow to Nissan, which has bet big on China, its largest market. Of Japan's big three, Nissan has the biggest presence in China, the world's top auto market.
Nissan also took a hard hit from the slower than scheduled start of production of redesigned sedan and sport-utility vehicle models that the company had seen as a chief growth driver in the U.S.
Even as the recent weakening of the yen has eased pressure on Japan's auto makers, Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has said it needs to weaken further. Mr. Ghosn has repeatedly warned that the currency is still far from reaching the levels needed to turn around the industry's overall outlook.
The new appointments will take effect April 1.