Nissan removes Toshiyuku Shiga as chief operating officer after disappointing second-quarter and first-half financial results.

“Our slow performance delivery in the first half of this year required immediate action to be taken,” Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is quoted by Reuters as saying today at Nissan’s Yokohama, Japan, headquarters.

Shiga ranked second to Ghosn in Nissan’s hierarchy. He now becomes vice chairman, overseeing external affairs.

There is no direct replacement named for Shiga, but three longtime Nissan executives take on greater responsibilities in a restructuring of the COO’s office.

Chief Competitive Officer Hiroto Saikawa becomes the second-highest-ranking Nissan executive. He will continue to lead global purchasing, manufacturing, R&D, and supply-chain management, Nissan says, but also will head Nissan’s new stand-alone China region and chair the automaker’s Operations Committee.

Executive Vice President of Planning Andy Palmer keeps his current responsibilities but also takes on the role of chief planning officer. Palmer will oversee Nissan’s zero emissions vehicle planning and strategy, global battery business unit and global sales, as well.

Trevor Mann, executive vice president and chairman of Africa, Middle East, India and Europe, becomes chief performance officer. Mann also gains leadership of Datsun and Nissan’s light-commercial-vehicle and global-aftersales business units.

Mann replaces Colin Dodge as CPO. Dodge remains a Nissan director and now will manage special projects, reporting directly to Ghosn.

The Nissan CEO refuses to say if Saikawa, Palmer or Mann is his heir apparent.

“We are growing enough talent inside the company to be able to replace every single person in the company when the time will come, including myself,” Reuters reports Ghosn as saying.

Nissan’s net profit for the July-September period rose just 2%, to ¥107.8 billion ($1.09 billion) from ¥105.7 billion ($1.07 billion) in the same period year-ago.

Nissan blames recalls and slow sales in Europe and emerging markets for a lackluster quarter and first half, and cuts its net profit expectations roughly 20% for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

The Japanese automaker also slices its global sales target for the fiscal year to 5.2 million units, from its previous goal of 5.3 million.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com