The head of Nissan's China business, Makoto Uchida, and Jun Seki, the executive tasked with leading the automaker's turnaround, have emerged as two of the top candidates to take over as the next CEO of the troubled Japanese automaker, four people familiar with the matter said.
Discussions are still underway, and nothing has been decided, said the people, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.
There is also a possibility that another candidate could still be successful, with temporary CEO Yasuhiro Yamauchi seen as one possibility, according to two sources.
The appointment of Nissan's next CEO in October will have vast implications for both the future of Japan's second-largest automaker and its strained alliance with top shareholder Renault. The next leader could push for deeper ties with Renault or greater independence from it.
Uchida, who has worked on purchasing for the alliance, is seen as being favored by Renault and Renault-friendly members of Nissan's board, while Seki is preferred by those from the Nissan side, two of the people familiar with the matter said.
"Renault is much more familiar with Uchida," one of the people, a Nissan insider, said. "The Renault side thinks Uchida is much easier to control than Seki."
Other board members are throwing their weight behind Seki, partially due to politics but also because he is seen as having more well-rounded experience as an auto executive, the two said.
"Seki is much more personable and well liked within Nissan and trusted by his peers and those under him," the Nissan insider said.
Seki previously headed the China business and is now spearheading an internal team charged with Nissan's recovery.
The nominations committee, which includes board members, is considering the candidates from a list of around 10, according to another person familiar with the deliberations. Nissan's board have the final say on the next CEO.
Daniele Schillaci, the CEO of brake manufacturer Brembo, who left Nissan earlier this year, is one the 10 executives on the list, Bloomberg reported earlier this week.
Schillaci is close to Renault, whom he has worked for, and may make a strong external candidate, the report said.