Will the Appointment of Makoto Uchida as CEO Pull Nissan Out of Crisis?
Last few months have been full of turmoil for Nissan. Soon after the arrest of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, came the news of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hiroto Saikawa leaving the firm. The falling profits, loss of investor confidence and accusations of being overpaid had added to firm’s problems.
After shortlisting more than ten candidates, Nissan has appointed former Senior Vice President Makoto Uchida for the position of CEO. The decision comes as a surprise as it is slightly against the traditional corporate culture of the firm.
Makoto Uchida joined the firm in 2003 and has been best known ever since for his focus on cost control and tireless work ethic.
In order to overcome the management scandals and tensions that Nissan has been dealing with, Makoto will be accompanied by newly appointed Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta, who is currently holding the same position at junior partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
The takeover by Makoto Uchida has given investors some hope of a miracle turnaround, mainly at the US business of Nissan as investors hope for improved relations with Renault.
In a recently organised news conference, the head of Nissan’s nominations committee, Masakazu Toyoda said, “The biggest business challenge for Nissan is speeding up”.
Many people at Nissan believe that the decision will prove to be “a victory for the alliance” as both Gupta and Uchida are aware about the ups and downs of the business and can help Nissan in the best possible manner.
Running the company’s operations in China since 2018, Makoto Uchida comes from the Chinese operations of the firm. Following the hierarchy, former Senior Vice President of Nissan, Jun Seki will be taking over the position of vice COO.
Till the new appointments start from Jan 1, 2020, Yasuhiro Yamauchi will take over as acting CEO.
Keeping the firms’ future in mind, Kimura said that a strong leadership is required. He added, “Group leadership, where they all support each other, will be more transparent.”
A Doshisha University graduate, Makoto Uchida has previously worked for Nissho Iwai, now owned by Sojitz, a trading house.
Apart from witnessing the global slowdown in the auto sector, Nissan is having a tough time trying to recover from the reputational damage from the Ghosn scandal. It will be quite challenging for Makoto to bring the firm to a better position in near future.
Moreover, the changing leadership over short periods will have a strong impact on the overall functioning of the firm as the investors of the firm remain sceptical due to the 30 percent drop in market capitalization, at a time when its competitors like Volkswagen and Tata Motors rise by 10 percent.
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