5487 Nissan's top N.A. exec to lead Americas in regional realignment

Nissan’s top N.A. exec to lead Americas in regional realignment

Nissan’s top North America executive will take a broader role as the Japanese automaker realigns its regional focus.

Jérémie Papin, 47, has been promoted to the new role of chairman of the Americas, giving him responsibility for Nissan’s operations across North and South America. He starts the role on April 1.

It is a regional management structure that Nissan previously adopted in 2007, when it hoped to use a centralized U.S. executive team to coordinate sales and manufacturing strategies across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and other markets. But Nissan dropped the hemispheric approach in 2014 when it turned its focus to bearing down on U.S. sales growth.

Papin currently is vice chairman of North America, where he oversees the U.S., Canada and Mexico. He assumed that role last June.

As part of Nissan’s four-year transformation plan, the automaker is consolidating seven business regions down to four key regions: Japan-ASEAN, China, Americas and AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania).

The new structure will allow Nissan to focus on core markets and provide autonomy to regional management, the company said in a statement.

“This realignment enables Nissan to be more competitive by improving the speed of our operations and help deploy our latest technologies consistently and quickly to customers the world over,” the automaker said in a statement.

Choppy waters

For the past year, Papin has been leading Nissan’s turnaround in its critical U.S. market, which suffered its largest annual percentage sales decline in company history last year.

Nissan Division sold 819,715 vehicles in 2020, down 33 percent from the year earlier.

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Papin is steering the U.S. business away from its aggressive pursuit of market share championed by former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn. A cornerstone of that strategy is a pullback from rental fleet shipments that Nissan believes dinged residual values and brand value.

Papin also is shepherding a product reboot that brings six new or redesigned vehicles to dealerships by the end of 2021. Last year saw updates to several key models, including the Sentra compact sedan, Rogue crossover and Titan pickup.

Papin joined Nissan North America in 2018 as senior vice president of finance. Prior to that, he held a variety of leadership roles in finance, corporate planning, corporate strategy and business development at Groupe Renault and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

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