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Nissan names new finance chief

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American Stephen Ma, who joined Nissan's US operations in 1996, will take on his new post on Dec 1.

Tokyo

NISSAN Motor Co on Friday named American Stephen Ma as its next finance chief and said some veteran executives were stepping down, putting a new generation in charge of a company battling to recover from plunging profits and management scandal.

The announcement by Japan's second-largest automaker comes just weeks after it named the head of its China business, Makoto Uchida, as its next chief executive.

Following the dramatic ouster of former chairman Carlos Ghosn almost a year ago, Nissan has been battered by sliding profits, uncertainty over its future leadership and tensions with top shareholder Renault SA.

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The company is revamping its top ranks with younger executives, picking Mr Ma, its global controller who turns 49 this month, as its next chief financial officer (CFO) to replace Hiroshi Karube, whose departure was also announced.

Mr Ma, who joined Nissan's US operations in 1996 and has served as CFO of Nissan's joint venture with Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor, will join Ashwani Gupta, the 49-year-old who was appointed chief operating officer last month, in becoming the highest ranking non-Japanese at the company.

They, along with Mr Uchida, 53, and other top executives, will take on their new posts on Dec 1.

Among those leaving is Yasuhiro Yamauchi, who was acting CEO and passed over for the top job that went to Mr Uchida.

Nissan also announced the departure of Hitoshi Kawaguchi, who has been in charge of external affairs.

Both Mr Kawaguchi and Mr Yamauchi, septuagenarians who between them have served more than 80 years at Nissan, will leave the company at the end of the month. REUTERS