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Nissan names head of China business to be new chief executive

By Associated Press Reporter

Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co has named the head of its China business, Makoto Uchida, to be its new chief executive.

Nissan officials said Mr Uchida, a senior vice president, was chosen for his varied and cosmopolitan experience.

Mr Uchida replaces Hiroto Saikawa, who resigned last month after acknowledging he had received questionable income payments.

Mr Saikawa had succeeded former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Mr Ghosn is awaiting trial in Japan on charges of falsifying documents on deferred compensation and of breach of trust in allegedly diverting Nissan money for personal gain. He denies wrongdoing.

Mr Saikawa had been closely allied with Mr Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades and made it one of the most successful carmakers in the world before his arrest in November 2018.

Mr Ghosn’s trial is not expected to start until next year. Mr Saikawa has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Nissan announced Mr Uchida’s appointment in a news conference by board members Yasushi Kimura and Masakazu Toyoda.

Nissan’s board has named the head of its China business, Makoto Uchida, to be its new CEO (Kyodo News via AP)

They have repeatedly promised to turn around Nissan Motor Co and strengthen its corporate governance.

Mr Uchida is now president of Dongfeng Motor Co, Nissan’s China unit. He did not appear before reporters.

Mr Toyoda said the board unanimously chose Mr Uchida because of his wide international experience.

He grew up overseas and worked at trading company Nissho Iwai Corporation before joining Nissan.

He was also seen as able to lead Nissan’s long-time alliance with French carmaker Renault. Renault owns 43% of Nissan.

“His various experiences make him a good choice to lead the company during this difficult period,” Mr Toyoda told reporters.

The Yokohama-based company also named Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer at its alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, to be its new chief operating officer

The latest appointments need shareholders’ approval, which the board members said would be sought by January 1.