Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. Chief Operating Officer Carlos Ghosn is appointed president as part of a sweeping management overhaul at the troubled automaker. The management restructuring solidifies Renault's control over Nissan's operations.

Mr. Ghosn, a former Renault SA executive, becomes the first-ever non-Japanese president of Japan's third-largest automaker. He will continue to serve as chief operating officer, a post he assumed when Renault acquired a controlling 36.8% stake in the ailing automaker last year. Mr. Ghosn's appointment will be proposed at the June annual shareholder's meeting, Nissan says in a statement.

President and Chairman Yoshikazu Hanawa will retain his chief executive status and continue to serve as chairman. Mr. Hanawa and Mr. Ghosn both say the shift was largely symbolic — a nod to Mr. Ghosn's leadership and early results — and should not change their respective responsibilities.

Other changes, part of a comprehensive restructuring effort dubbed the Nissan Revival Plan, include reducing membership on both its board of directors and executive committee from 10 to 9.

Two former Renault executives receive promotions in the reorganization: Thierry Moulonguet will replace Kanemitsu Anraku as chief financial officer, and Jean-Jacques Le Goff will be in charge of a newly established global marketing team, meant to link regional marketing organizations. These changes take effect April 1.

Mr. Ghosn touts the reshuffling as an effort to consolidate top brass by removing a layer of management. Ian Gibson, for example, is retiring from his post as Nissan Europe president and will not be replaced. He says the reshuffle will work to coordinate strategies in the different regions where Nissan does business.

Mr. Ghosn initially was brought in from Renault to turn around the troubled automaker. He has vowed that Nissan will turn a profit in the coming fiscal year and says he will resign his post if this is not accomplished. He reportedly says he has identified precisely where he plans to make cuts in order to reduce costs by 20% over three years.