Veteran Nissan designer Shiro Nakamura has retired. He will be replaced by Alfonso Albaisa, who currently heads design at Infiniti. Albaisa in turn will be replaced at Infiniti by former BMW brand design boss Karim Habib.
Nakamura was brought in by Carlos Ghosn in 1999 to oversee design at Nissan. It was the start of Nissan’s revival from near-bankruptcy, and in the years after his appointment Nakamura would oversee the creation of some iconic designs such as the 350Z and GT-R sports cars as well as the Infiniti FX coupe-like SUV and Essence concept car.
The 67-year-old Japanese native learned his trade at Tokyo’s Musashino Art University. He also studied at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
His replacement as head of design at Nissan, Albaisa, has been in charge of design at Infiniti since 2013 and started working for Nissan as far back as 1988. The Brazilian graduated from Pratt Institute in New York and also attended the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan.
Albaisa's replacement Habib headed design at the BMW brand since 2012 but stepped down earlier this year. Habib was born in Lebanon but grew up in Canada and started his studies at McGill University in Montreal. He then went on to the Art Center College of Design in Switzerland. He also spent time at the Art Center College of Design in Pasedena. His replacement at BMW is Jozef Kaban, designer of the Bugatti Veyron.