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Makoto Uchida named new Nissan CEO as automaker turns page after Ghosn

Uchida has quite the ship to right after scores of drama at the automaker.

Nissan logo
The automaker hopes for a fresh start following a handful of scandals.
Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images

Nissan's former chairman of the management committee for China finds himself in the top spot at the Japanese automaker. On Tuesday, the company said it selected Makoto Uchida as Nissan's new CEO. His appointment follows former CEO Hiroto Saikawa's resignation last month.

With Uchida's appointment, the automaker hopes to truly turn a fresh page and begin righting the ship after falling profits and drama surrounding charges against another former Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, engulfed the automaker and put a strain on its alliance partner, France's Renault. Nissan has remained embattled following financial misconduct charges against Ghosn. The ex-CEO continues to deny all wrongdoing.

"The board concluded that Uchida is the right leader to drive the business forward," Nissan chairman, and acting CEO, Yasushi Kimura said in a statement. "We expect Uchida to lead the company as one team, immediately focus on the recovery of the business and revitalize the company."

In addition to the new CEO, Nissan's board also hired a new chief operating officer in Ashwani Gupta. The executive formerly held the title of COO at alliance partner Mitsubishi. Both Uchida and Gupta are stable choices for partner Renault, too. Uchida once occupied the position of corporate vice president for purchasing at the Renault-Nissan alliance, while Gupta was the general manager of purchasing for Renault India and the alliance's light commercial vehicle chief.

Importantly, Uchida also comes from a shining spot on Nissan's balance sheet: its Chinese operations. He's run the company's operations in China since 2018.

In a final round of executive shuffling, the automaker also named Nissan's senior vice president, Jun Seki, as vice COO. Seki will report to Gupta.

Each of the appointments will be effective by Jan. 1, 2020. Until then, Kimura will continue serving as interim CEO.