New Nissan CEO pledges better performance, cooperation with Renault

Known for his straight-talking manner and relentless focus on cost control, Makoto Uchida is Nissan’s third CEO since September. (AFP)
Updated 02 December 2019

New Nissan CEO pledges better performance, cooperation with Renault

  • Known for his straight-talking manner and relentless focus on cost control, Makoto Uchida is Nissan’s third CEO since September
  • Nissan is bracing for its lowest annual profit in 11 years and has slashed its dividend by 65 percent

YOKOHAMA: Nissan Motor Co. chief executive Makoto Uchida said on Monday that he would work to improve the automaker’s financial performance and co-operate closely with alliance partner Renault SA, while maintaining Nissan’s independence.
Uchida became CEO of Nissan on Dec. 1, as Japan’s No. 2 car maker tries to recover from a profit slump and draw a line under a year of turmoil after the Carlos Ghosn scandal.
Nissan is betting that bringing new blood into its executive ranks will help to get the company back on track financially after years of aggressive expansion in the United States and other regions pummeled overall profitability.
The new executive team, which also includes CFO Stephen Ma and COO Ashwani Gupta, took the helm this month, a year after former chairman Ghosn was arrested on financial misconduct charges in Japan.
Known for his straight-talking manner and relentless focus on cost control, Uchida is Nissan’s third CEO since September, when Hiroto Saikawa, a protege of Ghosn, was forced to resign after he admitted to being improperly overpaid.
Uchida, 53, replaced Yasuhiro Yamauchi, a company veteran and former COO who stepped down as interim CEO at the end of November.
A big task lies ahead of him and his team. Nissan is bracing for its lowest annual profit in 11 years and has slashed its dividend by 65 percent. Its struggles come at a time when car companies desperately need scale to keep up with sweeping technological changes like electric vehicles and ride-hailing.
Earnings have been undercut, particularly in the United States, a key market, by years of heavy discounts and low-margin sales to rental firms as part of a strategy to raise market share, which has cheapened Nissan’s brand image.
Uchida must also salvage ties with Renault. Since Ghosn’s ouster as chairman of both companies, Nissan and Renault have squabbled over the selection of Nissan’s board members and executives, as well a proposed tie-up between Renault and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) earlier this year, which ultimately failed.
Renault, which holds a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan after it saved the Japanese automaker from financial ruin two decades ago, has for years been pursuing closer ties with its bigger partner, only to be rebuffed by Nissan.
Nissan is implementing a global recovery plan under which it will axe nearly one-tenth of its workforce and cut global vehicle production by 10 percent through 2023 to rein in costs which it has said ballooned when Ghosn was CEO.


Egypt banks step up anti-virus efforts

Updated 26 November 2020

Egypt banks step up anti-virus efforts

  • asures recommended by the Federation of Egyptian Banks also include a ban on face-to-face meetings.

CAIRO: Up to half of bank employees in Egypt will be encouraged to work from home under guidelines to counter a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Measures recommended by the Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) also include a ban on face-to-face meetings.

In a letter to banks, the FEB said its guidelines were aimed at ensuring sustainable operations “in the current circumstances.”

Banks will continue to operate from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the public and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for employees.

Previous guidelines were issued by the FEB on March 30 and April 5.

The federation's latest plan includes a follow-up on alternative workplaces to allow departments to continue working in cases of forced interruption.

The plan also issues strict instructions on wearing face masks in the workplace and while using the bank’s buses.

Employees also have been urged to follow precautionary measures while using public or private transport, and to avoid crowded places.

The FEB banned face-to-face meetings, replacing these with video conference meetings, and also underlined instructions to sanitize all surfaces using alcohol-based sanitizers, to regularly sanitize all workplaces at weekends, to provide sanitizers in areas that host employees and clients, and to regularly sanitize all main elevators.

Office boys and janitors have been instructed to wear face masks and to use paper cups instead of glass or metal ones.

The FEB said it will continue to post awareness videos and statements on combating the coronavirus.

It has urged banks to use e-payments, to continue banning delivery persons from entering the workplace, to continue halting the delivery of daily newspapers and magazines, and to continue temperature testing by security officials at workplace entrances.