Not all Nissan employees happy with first Japanese president in 17 years

Updated : 10.03.2017

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Nissan Motor recently--and unexpectedly--announced Carlos Ghosn will step down as president and chief executive officer and be replaced by Hiroto Saikawa, the automaker's co-CEO, on April 1. Saikawa will become Nissan's first Japanese president in 17 years, but not all Nissan employees are thrilled about his appointment.

According to a Nissan insider, Saikawa frequently gives excessively detailed instructions, and many employees consider him pedantic.

When Saikawa became co-CEO in November, media organizations asked Nissan's public relations department to grant each an interview with him. "But we had to wait for a long time," said a reporter for an economic magazine.

Saikawa obviously does not mind talking to the media, but he bombarded company representatives with questions before going ahead with the interviews. "Mr. Saikawa repeatedly asked a Nissan spokesman such questions as, 'Why I am granting this interview?' and 'What effects would this interview likely generate?'" said another Nissan insider.

Ghosn will retain clout at the carmaker as he will remain chairman with representative rights. But after Saikawa becomes president, his detailed instructions are likely to increase.

Furthermore, some analysts speculate Saikawa's presidency may be short-lived. Aged 63, he is one year older than Ghosn. "If Nissan was serious about installing a long-term management team led by a Japanese, it would have chosen someone younger," said a reporter covering the automobile industry.

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This is a translation of an article from the March 2017 issue of Sentaku.