In a surprise announcement, Nissan said Tuesday that it had selected Makoto Uchida as its CEO after a pay scandal.

Makoto Uchida, 53, will head the company beginning Jan. 1 or sooner, Nissan officials announced at a news conference on Tuesday. Mr. Uchida has been with Nissn since 2003 and led its China operations, a key market, since 2018. The selection of Mr. Uchida was unanimous.

Almost one year since unceremonious departure of its former leader, Carlos Ghosn, the chaos that has taken place has led to an exodus of top employees. The company is in the process of cutting 12,500 jobs worldwide. After the exit of Mr. Ghosn, Nissan has repeatedly clashed with French automaker Renault.

“It is very important to demonstrate that this is a new Nissan,” Nissan’s chairman, Yasushi Kimura said.

"We expect Mr. Uchida to lead the company as a team, immediately focus on the recovery of the business and revitalize the company to make a new Nissan,” Kimura told reporters. Mr. Uchida was selected due to his experience abroad, as well as his dedication to the importance of the company’s alliance with its partners Renault and Mitsubishi.

The company also announced the appointment of another 2 senior executives, it was important to wash clean the stigma from the management issues that have plagued it since the exit of Mr. Ghosn.

Ashwani Gupta, the current chief operating officer at Mitsubishi and a former executive at Renault, was named Nissan’s chief operating officer. Jun Seki, a senior vice president at Nissan, will become vice chief operating officer.

“We selected the people who can show that this is a new Nissan in a strong way,” Mr. Kimura said.

“I thought the sooner the better,” Mr. Kimura said in response to questions about the accelerated schedule.

Mr. Kimura declined to answer questions about the future of Hari Nada. Mr. Nada played a key role in the ouster of Mr. Ghosn and has struck a cooperation agreement with Japanese prosecutors to receive immunity in return for providing evidence against his ex-boss. Mr. Ghosn has been charged with four charges of financial wrongdoing, and awaits trial in Tokyo on bail. Mr. Nada’s continued role at the company has been a point of concern for some directors and executives, who seek to move past an era of top-down leadership, much criticized since Mr. Ghosn’s arrest in November.

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