TOKYO – The global chairman of the struggling Japanese premium brand Infiniti is retiring from the position at the end of the month and will be replaced by an interim head.
Peyman Kargar, who has led Infiniti since June 2020 and was preparing for a wide-ranging brand reboot centered on the QX80 SUV, will leave the role on March 30, the end of Nissan’s fiscal year.
A person familiar with the move said Kargar will be returning to France.
Kargar, 55, worked at French alliance partner Renault for nearly two decades before coming to Nissan in 2017. He led Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India operations before leading Infiniti.
Olga Filippova, general manager in charge of global sales and marketing, will be acting head of Infiniti, parent company Nissan announced on Wednesday in a personnel shuffle.
Filippova joined Infiniti in 2018 and assumed her current role as Kargar’s global No. 2 in 2020.
Last year, Kargar outlined plans to Automotive News to jumpstart Infiniti for a new era of growth and a belated leap into the battery-electric race.
The road map included a new look for Infiniti dealerships, a new design language for its vehicles and a flurry of accents to impress customers, such as a unique Infiniti scent and signature sound.
The relaunch was scheduled to coincide with the introduction of the redesigned QX80 as the brand’s flagship. A close to production Monograph prototype is set to be unveiled this year.
Kargar landed at Infiniti after a period of rapid turnover at the top.
He replaced Mike Colleran, who served as global brand head for only three months. Colleran had taken over from an interim chairman following the departure of previous Infiniti President Christian Meunier in 2019 to become global president of the Jeep brand. Meunier’s resignation came just four months after the departure of his predecessor, Roland Krueger.
Infiniti’s global sales plunged 55 percent to 84,830 vehicles in 2021, from 188,990 in 2019 before the pandemic. U.S. sales, the bulk of brand volume, fell 20 percent to 46,619 vehicles in 2022.
Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn had set a goal for Infiniti to account for 10 percent of the industry's global luxury market, racking up annual sales of 500,000 vehicles.
At one point, Ghosn’s plan called for Infiniti to be a pioneer in luxury electric vehicles, getting an EV based on the Nissan Leaf on sale in 2014. That never happened.
The brand's last major product — the redesigned QX60 midsize crossover — was delayed several months, rolling into stores in late 2021. Infiniti still has no full-electric vehicle. But two EVs for the brand are scheduled to enter production at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, plant from 2025.