Nissan has a range of new cars coming, and a clearer understanding of how its alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi will operate in the future.
But the high-level boardroom instability that’s wracked the company since controversial ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn’s demise is still playing out behind the scenes.
According to a Reuters report quoting “four people with direct knowledge”, at least six allies of Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s current chief operating officer, are pushing to have him installed as co-CEO alongside Makato Uchida.
Mr Gupta was instrumental in devising the four-year Nissan recovery plan revealed this month, and now his supporters want him installed in the top job to drive its implementation. Nissan has had three CEOs since Carlos Ghosn was ousted late in 2018.
If he isn’t made co-CEO, Mr Gupta’s supporters want him to replace Mr Uchida, and have Mr Uchida moved to the role of Nissan chairman.
“We’re clear enough in telling the board what our expectations are,” one source told Reuters.
“But we don’t want to push the issue too hard. We want this to happen in a natural way.”
According to Reuters, calls for Mr Gupta’s promotion follow a lacklustre performance from Mr Uchida during a May 28 presentation about Nissan’s recovery plan.
Detractors argue Mr Uchida lacked urgency, and focused on cost-cutting rather than the extensive restructuring efforts that make up a significant part of the recovery plan.
Mr Gupta’s supporters also reportedly argue he’s already assumed much of the leadership at Nissan, where Mr Uchida is less engaged.
There are “no plans or consideration for any change in the management structure at Nissan, and no change to the close collaborative working relationship between Mr Uchida and Mr Gupta in their current roles”, Nissan told Reuters in a statement.