Nissan Shifts COO Shiga to Head of Electric Vehicle Division

MAR 11 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 5

2013 Nissan LEAF

2013 Nissan LEAF

Nissan Motors has made a daring decision to move its chief operating officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, to the head of its electric vehicle division starting on April 1.

COO Shiga Moves to Top Electric Vehicle Spot

COO Shiga Moves to Top Electric Vehicle Spot

It’s reported that shifting Shiga is in direct response to lower than expected sales of the Nissan LEAF, but there’s likely to be more news to pour out soon behind this developing story.

Toshiyuki Shiga, is the go to guy when it comes to the direction of the company, and who takes all the tough questions in Japan when it comes to accountability at the end of each quarter.

Of all the execs at Nissan, Mr. Shiga is likely the most passionate about the advancement of electric vehicles, and who can effect the most change at the company (outside of CEO Carlos Ghosn).  We definitely see this as a long term plus for the electric vehicle segment.

Hideaki Watanabe, former corporate vice-president of Nissan’s electric vehicle unit, will assume the role of senior vice-president at supplier Calsonic Kansei.

Chris Keeffe, a Nissan spokesman, only stated this regarding Shiga’s shift to the top spot in the automaker’s electric vehicle unit:

“Chief Operating Officer Shiga is taking direct responsibility of zero emission efforts because the business is Nissan’s top priority which requires global and cross-functional efforts.”

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that the Nissan LEAF, despite missing way-too optimistic targets set by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, is still the world’s best-selling electric vehicle of all time.

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5 Comments on "Nissan Shifts COO Shiga to Head of Electric Vehicle Division"

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Schmeltz
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Schmeltz

Eric, just wondering why this shift was considered as you stated a “daring decision”? Is the Nissan Leaf in trouble because of its missed sales targets? For what that’s worth, I don’t believe a single manufacturer hit their overly-ambitious sales projections, including GM and the Volt. Nissan did one thing right already this year by moving production of the Leaf to America, and offer a lower priced version of the car. The next things they should do, IMHO, is increase the electric range and/or offer a range extender, and offer a more mainstream looking car, like an All Electric Altima.

evnow
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evnow

I look at this move as a affirmation of Nissan’s commitment to EVs. Corporations usually put more senior people in charge of a unit if they see it as of strategic importance.

Putting a more senior person makes it possible to break the mold and get decisions quickly. For eg. he would be able to move towards multiple battery sizes or a REx faster than a lower ranked person.

David Murray
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David Murray

I love my Leaf. But i will agree it isn’t a car for everyone. If Nissan wants to really win the EV revolution they need to build a more normal looking vehicle such as a Rogue or Altima and it needs to have at minimum 100 miles EPA range.

Then they also need to concentrate on building some PHEVs, which I think they are already working on.