Hiroto Saikawa has been appointed the new chief executive of Nissan after Carlos Ghosn last night stood down.

After Ghosn, "Saikawa is the most decorated man in terms of producing tangible results", said another senior Nissan group executive, who has also worked with Saikawa for many years. Earlier he served as chief competitive officer and chairman of the management committees of the Americans and Europe, as well as executive vice president of purchasing.

Shareholders are set to vote on the move at Nissan's general meeting which will be held in June. "This planned change will allow me to devote more time and energy to managing the strategic and operational evolution of the alliance and its expansion", he said.

Saikawa has spent four decades working his way up the ranks at Nissan, where he is now the automaker's Chief Competitive Officer. He is also chair and chief executive of sister company Renault, and of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the group's strategic partnership.

"After years of playing maestro to a multi-cultural, multi-branded behemoth, Mr. Ghosn is focusing exclusively on orchestrating the strategic and operation success of his latest alliance, the symphony of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi", she said.

Ghosn will become chairman and says he wishes to focus more on the recently expanded Renault-Nissan Alliance, which now includes Mitsubishi Motors.

He will continue to supervise and guide the company, both independently and "within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance".

Ghosn will remain as Nissan's global CEO until April 1, at which time Hiroto Saikawa will take over. He advocates a combination of auto makers to form a company that could sell 15 million units a year, dwarfing others. Nissan has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and Mitsubishi Motors since 2016 under the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The all-electric Nissan Leaf, introduced in 2010, isn't as capable as cars sold by Tesla Inc., but it is among the best-selling electric vehicles in history.