Philippe Klein, Chief Planning Officer, Nissan
Who is Philippe?
As Chief Planning Officer, Philippe Klein works across the Nissan business to plan, develop and implement the company’s coherent global product strategy. He oversees the execution of future product development plans and product management strategy as well as market intelligence (MI). Additional responsibilities include Nissan’s Vehicle Information Technology business (VIT) and Nissan motor sports (NISMO). His work includes planning new cars and its program management throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle – to make sure the company is getting the benefit from the capital investment in product development. He and his team are always taking the voice of the customer into consideration. Philippe’s responsibility is to be the strong and compulsory link between the products and market intelligence.
Philippe was born in Phalsbourg, in North East France. He studied engineering and physics in Paris, before joining Renault in 1981. He has spent his entire career with Renault and Nissan. In the late 1980s Philippe worked for two years in Japan, sent by Renault to a training programme organised by the EU, designed to help Europeans understand Japanese business methods. Ten years later, he was back in Japan, working for the newly formed Renault-Nissan Alliance. Initially, he was Vice President in charge of the CEO’s office (1999-2003), returning to Japan and Nissan in 2007 as Senior Vice President responsible for the CEO’s and COO’s office and Corporate Administration. He returned to Renault as member of the Executive Committee to lead the product planning and programs division in 2008. He was appointed to his current role in September 2014 and is based at the global HQ in Yokohama, Japan.
Achievements at Nissan
One of the most exciting times for Philippe was during his first four years with the company. At that time the challenge was to make the organisation more efficient by making it more integrated.
He helped to create what is now the CEO’s office and initiated the cross functional teams. It proved to be an extremely efficient and pragmatic way to cut across the silos of the organisation at that time. This work materialised in October 1999 with the launch of the Nissan revival plan and it symbolised a new direction and turnover for Nissan.
One of Philippe’s greatest memories is bringing back the Z car and then the GT-R – these were strong symbols that Nissan was back on track and capable of producing great sports cars again. Both cars continue to be successes and have done a great deal for the Nissan brand.
Why is Nissan Different?
Philippe explains that Nissan is a fascinating mix between a Japanese-rooted company and a truly global management strategy. He believes the real stand-out capability is the company’s people; the diversity of management and its employees. He finds that the way the company has accommodated and encouraged people from many different origins has capitalised on the richness of the cultures.
Nissan is in a good place and heading in the right direction as the leader in electric vehicles and autonomous drive. Just after the 1980s oil shock, the car was known as a commodity mainly for transportation. But today the car remains an object of passion and the industry has an obligation to continue to deliver products that tackle some of our great challenges while ensuring they are still affordable.
Education and Awards
Engineering and physics, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, Paris
Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole et des Moteurs, Paris.
In Philippe’s Personal Time
Philippe enjoys travelling, meeting new people and discovering new cultures. He also cherishes hiking and winter sports. He likes French and British classic cars.
Philippe’s Current Ride
In Japan, Philippe drives a Nissan Skyline 350GT HYBRID.
The first car he drove was a white Peugeot 404 convertible from 1965.