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Senior Nissan Executive in U.S. to Retire

March 08, 2006|John O'Dell | Times Staff Writer

Nissan Motor Corp. said Tuesday that Jed Connelly, a sales and marketing executive who oversaw a 50% increase in the automaker's U.S. revenue, would retire July 1. His move coincides with the company's plan to relocate its North American headquarters from Gardena to Tennessee.

Connelly, 60, was not available for comment.

He is one of three senior vice presidents of Nissan North America, who report directly to Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's chairman. Ghosn also is chairman of French automaker Renault, which owns a controlling interest in Nissan.

Ghosn, speaking in Tokyo today, praised Connelly as the man who led Nissan "through a period of unprecedented growth and profitability" in North America.

Connelly joined Nissan as a marketing executive in 1989 after working at Volkswagen of America. He left Nissan in 1994 to head sales and marketing for a firm that prepared vehicles for display at Ford and Mitsubishi dealerships. He returned in 1998 as staff director for the Nissan division.

Connelly later became head of the Infiniti luxury brand division and in March 2001 was named senior vice president of sales and marketing for Nissan's entire North American operation. During his five years in that post, Nissan and Infiniti sales in the U.S. rose to almost 1.1 million cars and trucks from 703,000.

In November, Nissan announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters and 1,300 jobs from Gardena to the Nashville area in a cost cutting move. At the time, Connelly said he was troubled by the likelihood that not all Nissan employees would make the move.

Ghosn also announced several management changes at Nissan North America triggered by Connelly's retirement.

He named Brad Bradshaw, head of the Nissan division, as senior vice president of Nissan North America to replace Connelly. Bradshaw joined Nissan in 1983 and formerly was head of Nissan Canada; previously he worked at Ford Motor Co. and Subaru.

Ghosn also named James Morton, senior vice president for finance and administration since March 2001, to the new job of vice chairman. Morton had been an executive at Michelin North America.

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