Personnel Articles

Nissan Motor Company’s chief operating officer and the man leading Nissan’s global revival plan, Ashwani Gupta, has been appointed chairman of Nissan North America.

Mr Gupta is also Nissan chief operating officer and was previously COO for Mitsubishi  and vice-president of light commercial (vehicle) business for the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

He replaces Jose Valls who resigned in May as part of a major personnel change at Nissan. Valls was in the job for only 14 months.

His new role as chairman of North America will oversee a new five-member regional board created to ensure profitability for the US market.

In a statement, Mr Gupta (49) said the US sales strategy would move away from chasing volume toward pursuing profit and ensure Nissan has closer relationships with dealers and suppliers.

The US is Nissan’s second-biggest market after China but has strained dealer relations and poor profitability.

Mr Gupta’s role includes lifting the brand image and moving away from costly factory incentives and the reliance on fleet sales.

A new wave of product for the US, including a redesigned Sentra (Pulsar) sedan and Rogue (X-Trail) SUV are seen as important moves to boost sales.

Mr Gupta, who has a bachelor’s degree in production and industrial engineering and is fluent in Japanese, started his career as a commodity buyer for Honda in India.

He joined Renault as a general manager of purchasing for India in 2006 and in 2011 became global program director of Datsun.

In 2017 he was put in charge of the global light commercial business for Renault and Nissan.

When Nissan took its controlling 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Mr Gupta was appointed COO of Mitsubishi in April 2019 following the departure of then COO Trevor Mann, who left the alliance in the wake of the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn. He became COO of Nissan in late 2019.

By Neil Dowling