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Nissan Holds Picking Up Ghosn's Successor As Its Officials Land Under Scanner

Nissan Board ends up forming a committee to investigate its officials instead of naming a replacement for Carlos Ghosn.

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Nissan is currently investigating the matter further to be assured that none of its employs are involved.

Highlights

  • Nissan has delayed announcing Ghosn's successor.
  • The Japanese carmaker is investigating the matter further.
  • Nissan is doubtful of its employs being involved in the pay scandal.

Nissan Motor has shelved the plans to choose a successor for Carlos Ghosn as there is a probability of Nissan's executive also being involved in the pay scandal. The board met Monday to decide on a successor for Ghosn, who was ousted as chairman the same week he was arrested on allegations of understating his pay and misusing Nissan's assets. However, the board ended up forming a committee to investigate in-house governance at Nissan which was indicted along with Ghosn by Japanese prosecutors last week. The Nissan board may wait for the committee's comments before naming a new chairman, chief executive officer Hiroto Saikawa told reporters Monday. The committee will give its recommendations by March 2019, almost four months after the 19 November jailing of Ghosn and his hasty ouster as Nissan's chairman three days later.

The delay stands in contrast to Nissan's conduct immediately after Ghosn's arrest, when Saikawa convened a press conference the same evening to angrily condemn his former mentor's actions. It also comes as the carmaker faces increasing pressure from Renault SA, its largest shareholder and partner in the world's biggest auto alliance. The French company sent a letter on Friday demanding a meeting of all investors to discuss Nissan's difficulties.

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Meantime, Renault, whose most powerful shareholder is the French state, is considering candidates to replace Ghosn as its chairman, but the board isn't ready to remove him, said a person familiar with the matter. One possibility is Michelin chief executive officer Jean-Dominique Senard, said the person on condition anonymity. Ghosn is likely to remain the chairman until he's had a chance to publicly defend himself, although this timing could change, the person said. Interim CEO Thierry Bollore is likely to take on the role permanently, people familiar with the matter have said.

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Ghosn, 64, was arrested in Tokyo for alleged understatement of his income, and on 10 December he and Nissan were indicted by Japanese prosecutors over the suspected misconduct. The company's indictment has expanded the scrutiny beyond Ghosn and raised questions about its corporate governance. It also cast attention on the leadership of Saikawa, so much so that his job may be on the line, according to analysts and people familiar with the situation inside the company.
 

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