Nissan's Carlos Ghosn tells Reuters why he's stepping aside as CEO after leading the firm for 16 years, allowing him to concentrate on deploying his cost-cutting expertise across its alliance with Renault and newly added Mitsubishi Motors. Sonia Legg reports.
There've been many grumblings recently about Carlos Ghosn being stretched too thin leading two auto makers. So news that the CEO will hand over the helm to a company veteran after 16 years was welcomed by many. Hirito Saikawa, who's currently co-CEO, will be sole chief of Nissan from April. Ghosn will focus on its alliance partners, while remaining Renault CEO. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) CEO OF NISSAN, CARLOS GHOSN, SAYING: "I have today in Nissan a team, which is very mature and that I trust, and I think, when I see how much I'm engaged at a different level, you know, Mitsubishi, Renault, and Nissan, and the level of the alliance, I think it was the time to pass the baton to somebody who have been grooming for many years." Ghosn will remain chairman of both companies and Mitsubishi Motors - he added that Chairmanship to his portfolio in December. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, HEAD OF RESEARCH, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "The likely beneficiaries are those alliance partners in terms of Renault and Mitsubishi Motors so all things being equal you can expect all three to be benefitting by this particular move." Multi-lingual Brazilian-born Ghosn is know as "Le Cost killer" in the auto industry. He's a hero in Japan after engineering Nissan's comeback from years of losses and debt. It's thought the change will give him more time to put that expertise to use across the alliance. Although some have questioned the timing - Saikawa only became co-CEO last November.