Nissan Picks First Non-Japanese to Head R&D

By Michelle Krebs February 17, 2011

Nissan has selected Carla Bailo to head research and development for its Americas operations. She is the first woman and the first non-Japanese executive to hold the post. Bailo's new title officially is senior vice president, Research & Development-Nissan Americas, effective April 1. She succeeds Motohiro Matsumura, currently president, Nissan Technical Center North America. Matsumura will return to Nissan headquarters in Japan for a new key assignment to be announced in the future.

Carla Bailo.jpgBailo, 50, will report to Carlos Tavares, chairman of Nissan's Management Committee-
Americas. She will be responsible for all of Nissan's vehicle engineering and development operations in Michigan, Arizona, Mexico and Brazil. She will retain her current position as member of Nissan's Management Committee-Americas, the company's highest-ranking decision-making body in the Americas region covering the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and 37 other Latin american and Caribbean countries.

Currently based in Japan but soon to move to Michigan, Bailo is a Nissan divisionl general manager at company headquarters. She is responsible for the operations as well as the revenue and profitability of Nissan's OEM relationshps for vehicle, powertrain, technology and intellectual property business worldwide.

"Carla's track record for leadership, combined with her technical expertise and business acumen, will be critical as we continue to align Nissan's engineering and technical resources to grow across the Americas," said Tavares in a statement. "She has established an impressive record for achieving quality and cost competitiveness while driving for continuous improvement in vehicle technology and quality."

Before her current post, Bailo was recovery program director through the financial crisis and program director for the profitability and product presence of Nissan SUVs globally. Earlier in her Nissan career, Bailo worked in vehicle engineering and vehicle program management. She was assistant chief vehicle engineer on the Nissan Sentra and Nissan Quest in the U.S.

She joined Nissan from General Motors in 1989 as a vehicle testing engineer. She has a bachelors' degree in mechanical engineering from the former General Motors Institute, now Kettering University, and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. She will be based at Nissan's Farmington Hills, Mich., technical center.

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