Infiniti Design Chief Ousted

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DOUNIAMAG-US-AUTO-SHOW

An Infiniti concept car is seen during the press preview days of the 2019 New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center in New York on April 17, 2019. – The latest automotive trends and collection of vehicles will be showcased starting April

AFP/Getty Images

The fallout from the ouster ofNissan GroupChairman Carlos Ghosn has now extended toInfiniti. Nissan and its luxury brand announced Monday Karim Habib, the design chief who defected from BMW for Infiniti two years ago is leaving the company.

Taisuke Nakamura, 49, who reported to Habib, will take over as of September 1. Habib is departing to “pursue other interests,” according to a release.

“Taisuke Nakamura, previously reporting to Karim as Infiniti Program Design Director will step into a new global leadership role reporting to me as head of design for Infiniti, where he will continue to shape the brand’s electrified journey,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president Nissan Global Design, in a statement. “As a key member of our global design organization Karim was a key collaborator and leader helping Nissan Motors shape the electrification of Infiniti. In addition to his work on Infiniti he was a key member of Global Design’s Management Committee as we incorporated new technologies, new processes and new directions for Nissan and Infiniti. As a deeply valued member of our family we wish him continued success, happiness and all the best as he seeks new inspiration and achievements outside of Nissan.”

Nakamura joined Nissan in 1993 and worked at Nissan Design Europe in London as a design manager. He is responsible for electric vehicle concepts that include the Infiniti QX Inspiration, Prototype 10 and Qs Inspiration, according to the company.

Shortly after arriving at Infiniti, Habib toldForbes.comthe brand faced several design challenges, saying, “ “My mission is to nourish the brand. It is about working across the visual inputs and outputs, the ads, dealerships. We participate in all these areas now.”

But apparently Habib’s attempt at design nourishment wasn’t enough to whet the appetites of consumers as Infiniti continued to fall behind competitors such as Lexus, the Toyota Motor Co. luxury marque, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 

Through July, Infiniti sales in the U.S., its largest market, are down about 13% from the same period a year ago—71,718 units versus 81,917. 

Habib posted gracious words on Facebook, in part thanking his team members for “the truly inspiring journey.” He didn’t say where he was headed next but according to a company insider it’s a new opportunity that could be announced as soon as this week.

Carlos Ghosn was ousted as head of the Nissan Group last year after being arrested and charged in Japan with under reporting his compensation for more than a decade. Ghosn has vehemently disputed the allegations and awaits trial. 

In the lingering aftermath of Ghosn’s departure, the shakeup at Infiniti design is only the latest executive shuffle at the brand. In May, after only four months on the job, Infiniti president Christian Meunier, jumped ship to head Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Jeep brand. 

(This story was updated to clarify the circumstances of Habib’s departure from the company).

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DOUNIAMAG-US-AUTO-SHOW

An Infiniti concept car is seen during the press preview days of the 2019 New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center in New York on April 17, 2019. – The latest automotive trends and collection of vehicles will be showcased starting April

AFP/Getty Images

The fallout from the ouster ofNissan GroupChairman Carlos Ghosn has now extended toInfiniti. Nissan and its luxury brand announced Monday Karim Habib, the design chief who defected from BMW for Infiniti two years ago is leaving the company.

Nakamura replaces Karim Habib

Taisuke Nakamura was named Head of Infiniti Design effective Sept. 1, 2019.

Nissan Group

Taisuke Nakamura, 49, who reported to Habib, will take over as of September 1. Habib is departing to “pursue other interests,” according to a release.

“Taisuke Nakamura, previously reporting to Karim as Infiniti Program Design Director will step into a new global leadership role reporting to me as head of design for Infiniti, where he will continue to shape the brand’s electrified journey,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president Nissan Global Design, in a statement. “As a key member of our global design organization Karim was a key collaborator and leader helping Nissan Motors shape the electrification of Infiniti. In addition to his work on Infiniti he was a key member of Global Design’s Management Committee as we incorporated new technologies, new processes and new directions for Nissan and Infiniti. As a deeply valued member of our family we wish him continued success, happiness and all the best as he seeks new inspiration and achievements outside of Nissan.”

Nakamura joined Nissan in 1993 and worked at Nissan Design Europe in London as a design manager. He is responsible for electric vehicle concepts that include the Infiniti QX Inspiration, Prototype 10 and Qs Inspiration, according to the company.

Habib joined Infiniti in 2017 from BMW.

Karim Habib is being replaced as Head of Design at Nissan Motor Group’s Infiniti brand as of Sept. 1, 2019.

Infiniti

Shortly after arriving at Infiniti, Habib toldForbes.comthe brand faced several design challenges, saying, “ “My mission is to nourish the brand. It is about working across the visual inputs and outputs, the ads, dealerships. We participate in all these areas now.”

But apparently Habib’s attempt at design nourishment wasn’t enough to whet the appetites of consumers as Infiniti continued to fall behind competitors such as Lexus, the Toyota Motor Co. luxury marque, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 

Through July, Infiniti sales in the U.S., its largest market, are down about 13% from the same period a year ago—71,718 units versus 81,917. 

Habib posted gracious words on Facebook, in part thanking his team members for “the truly inspiring journey.” He didn’t say where he was headed next but according to a company insider it’s a new opportunity that could be announced as soon as this week.

Kelly Joins Ghosn For Pretrial Procedure At Court In Tokyo

TOKYO, JAPAN – JUNE 24: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn enters the Tokyo District Court for a pretrial procedure on June 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Carlos Ghosn was ousted as head of the Nissan Group last year after being arrested and charged in Japan with under reporting his compensation for more than a decade. Ghosn has vehemently disputed the allegations and awaits trial. 

In the lingering aftermath of Ghosn’s departure, the shakeup at Infiniti design is only the latest executive shuffle at the brand. In May, after only four months on the job, Infiniti president Christian Meunier, jumped ship to head Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Jeep brand. 

(This story was updated to clarify the circumstances of Habib’s departure from the company).

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