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Ghosn will remain CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

Carlos Ghosn has announced he will give up the top spot at Nissan on April 1st. Hiroto Saikawa will become the automaker's new chief executive officer (CEO) when Ghosn steps down.

In a statement, Ghosn explained he has chosen to resign from his position at Nissan in order to focus on expanding the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which now includes Mitsubishi. He wants to ensure Mitsubishi is seamlessly integrated into the alliance, and that all three companies continue to benefit from economies of scale without overlapping or wasting resources.

"Having recently taken on new responsibilities at Mitsubishi Motors, and taking into consideration the upcoming Nissan general shareholders meeting, I have decided that the time is right for Hiroto Saikawa to succeed me as Nissan's CEO," the executive explained in a statement.

Ghosn will continue to supervise what happens at Nissan because he will remain the brand's Chairman. He will also remain CEO and Chairman of the Alliance, and he will continue to serve as the CEO of Renault.

The statement stresses the change in management was carefully planned; Ghosn wasn't ousted. Hand-picked by Ghosn, Saikawa is an auto industry veteran who has been with Nissan since 1977, and who joined the company's team of senior managers in 1999.

"I would like to thank Mr. Ghosn and the Nissan board for entrusting me with this new responsibility," said Saikawa.