Nissan’s senior vice president and chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura is retiring after 17 years with the company. As head designer for the Nissan and Infiniti brands, he has guided their styling direction and personally designed many notable models.
Nakamura began his career at Nissan in 1999. Prior to that, he spent 25 years at Isuzu, where he penned such radical designs as the Impulse, Axiom, and VehiCross. His first assignment at Nissan was the first-gen Nissan Murano. The crossover, along with the 350Z sports car he also presided over, helped establish Nissan’s design language of the 2000s. Nakamura would later oversee design work for the Infiniti G, M, Q50, and Q30, and Nissan 370Z, GT-R, Leaf, Cube, and the controversial Juke. He also oversaw the sporty Infiniti Essence and Emerg-E concepts, which, although never produced, influenced Infiniti’s design language.
Replacing Nakamura will be Alfonso Albaisa, the current head of Infiniti design. Taking Albaisa’s place is Karim Habib, who comes to Infiniti from BMW. Automotive News reports Albaisa said of his appointment in an email, “I have big shoes to fill.” Nakamura hands over the reins to Albaisa on March 31. Habib starts at Infiniti on July 1.
Coming on the heels of CEO Carlos Ghosn’s announcement that he will step down on April 1, Nakamura’s retirement ends a pivotal chapter in Nissan’s history. Ghosn appointed Nakamura as part of his turnaround of Nissan, and the designer’s oftentimes radical styling ideas helped put the Japanese automaker on the map.
We hope you enjoy your retirement, Nakamura-san.