Carlos Ghosn successfully revitalized Nissan. Can he do the same for Mitsubishi?
Nissan’s long standing leader, Carlos Ghosn, has stepped down as CEO of the company. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, since this is the same man who acts as Renault’s chairman and CEO as well as chairman of Mitsubishi - that's a lot to juggle. Ghosn has been with the Japanese automakers for 19 years where he helped save the firm from bankruptcy during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Replacing him as CEO will be Hiroto Saikawa, but Ghosn will still remain as Nissan’s chairman.
Saikawa has worked at Nissan since 1977 in various roles, including running American and European operations and overseeing global purchasing, manufacturing, supply chain management, research and customer satisfaction. “There’s a point in time where you have to be realistic about how many things you do and you can do well. This is the trigger,” said Ghosn. "There’s a moment when you have to pass the baton to someone else. I’ve always said I would love to have a Japanese to be my successor and Saikawa-san is somebody I have been grooming for many years.”
Ghosn is often credited for rescuing the struggling manufacturer thanks to his rigorous cost cutting measures which earned him the nickname ‘Le Cost Killer.’ He will now be focusing on revitalizing Mitsubishi. “As Nissan’s Chairman, I will continue to supervise and guide the company, both independently and within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance,” Ghosn said. “This planned change will also allow me to devote more time and energy to managing the strategic and operational evolution and expansion of the Alliance and ensuring that all its members benefit from the competitive advantages that its scale will deliver.”
In terms of volume, the Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance is the third biggest car maker in the world after Volkswagen and General Motors, having delivered just under 10 million cars in 2016. Hopefully his successful track record will help Mitsubishi infiltrate the American market with the upcoming Eclipse Crossover.