TOKYO — Nissan has tapped the head of its China business, Makoto Uchida, as its new president and chief executive, to help lead a recovery from the leadership crisis and sinking profitability that followed the arrest of its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, last year.
Uchida is replacing Hiroto Saikawa, who resigned after acknowledging receiving dubious income.
The Japanese automaker announced Uchida’s appointment late Tuesday in a hastily called half-hour news conference by board members Yasushi Kimura and Masakazu Toyoda.
They have repeatedly promised to turn around Nissan Motor Co. and strengthen its corporate governance.
Uchida, a senior vice president, is now president of Dongfeng Motor Co., Nissan’s China unit. He did not appear before reporters.
Toyoda said the board unanimously chose Uchida because of his wide international experience. He grew up overseas and worked at trading company Nissho Iwai Corp. before joining Nissan. He was also seen as able to lead Nissan’s longtime alliance with French automaker Renault. Renault owns 43% of Nissan.
“His various experiences make him a good choice to lead the company during this difficult period,” Toyoda told reporters.
The Yokohama-based company also named Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer at its alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp., to be its new COO.
The board members noted Gupta’s Indian nationality added to the international makeup of the leadership. Gupta is a member of the Renault management committee.