Sir Ian Gibson CBE, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Company Limited in Tokyo, is to step down as part of this year's management structure changes.
John Cushnaghan, managing director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited, said, "Sir Ian has made a huge contribution to both the north east and to the UK motor industry. He was a leading member of the team that set up the plant here in Sunderland and it is largely thanks to his efforts that Nissan has a significant strategic position not just in the UK but in Europe as well."
In 1984 Sir Ian joined Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited as purchasing and production control director, one of the company's first employees, to set up Nissan's manufacturing operations in Sunderland. He was appointed managing director and chief executive in June 1989, posts he continued to hold until December 1998 when he became chairman of the company.
In 1996 Sir Ian became vice president of manufacturing and purchasing for Nissan Europe and in 1997 was appointed managing director of Nissan Motor Iberica SA for two years, following which he was appointed chairman of the company. In April 1999 he became president of Nissan Europe and the first-ever European senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co Limited in Japan and the first to lead Nissan's operations in Europe.
In April 2000, Sir Ian retired from executive duties in Europe and joined the Nissan Europe supervisory board, involved in special European projects.