Nissan’s Infiniti names new design chief as another non-Japanese executive exits

The logo of Infiniti, Nissan Motor’s premium brand, is seen at its Global Design Center in Atsugi, Japan, April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

BEIJING (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co’s (7201.T) premium brand Infiniti said it has named Taisuke Nakamura as its new design chief, replacing Karim Habib who resigned from the post.

Canadian designer Habib, who spent only about two years in the role, is the latest non-Japanese senior executive to have left Nissan in the wake of the ouster of its powerful chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Nakamura was tapped internally from Yokohama-based Nissan, whom he joined in 1993. He is currently program design director for Infiniti and has contributed to the brand’s design since 2018.

His appointment is effective September 1, according to an Infiniti statement viewed by Reuters ahead of its release.

Nakamura is expected to report to Nissan’s global design chief, Alfonso Albaisa.

It was not immediately clear why Habib resigned. He started as Infiniti’s global design chief in July 2017, joining Nissan from BMW for which he was a global design chief.

Aside from Habib, top non-Japanese Nissan executives such as Daniele Schillaci, Jose Munoz and Trevor Mann have left the Japanese automaker in the recent past.

Ghosn, who faces charges of fraud and misconduct, is awaiting trial in Japan over charges including enriching himself at a cost of $5 million to Nissan, Japan’s No. 2 automaker.

Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing, saying he is the victim of a boardroom coup.

Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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