Senior Nissan executive leaves amid Ghosn fallout

Gladys Abbott
March 15, 2019

The shuffling of key executives underscores the unwinding of a power structure built up during nearly two decades by Ghosn, who is accused of falsifying financial records and breach of trust by Japanese prosecutors.

Nissan is now more profitable than Renault.

Mr Bajaj was senior vice president for HR for Nissan's alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors.

The move gave the alliance time to reformulate the structure of its board of directors without having to undo the alliance - for now anyway.

Ghosn's November arrest and dismissal as Nissan chairman, following an internal investigation, inflamed tensions with 43.4 per cent-owner Renault that have begun to ease since his forced resignation from the French auto maker in January.

Nissan, for its part, is planning to oust Ghosn as a board member at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting slated to be held on April 8.

The notice, signed by Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa, will be sent out Thursday, Nissan said.

If found guilty, Ghosn, widely recognized as the brains and brawn behind Nissan's rapid turnaround from near bankruptcy since 1999, could be facing up to 15 years in jail. He had made use of his position as head of the company to transfer losses arising from his personal investment upon carmaker Nissan, though he has denied all such charges.

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The date for his trial has not been set.

Ghosn was released on $9m (£6.8m) bail last week after spending more than 100 days in a Tokyo detention centre.

But his bail conditions prevent him from contact with anyone else involved in his case - including Saikawa, who also attended Tuesday's meeting.

Nissan has said that Ghosn wielded too much power, creating a lack of oversight and corporate governance.

The new board, which consists of the CEOs of the three company's and Renault's chairman, will meet every month in Paris or Tokyo and oversee various projects, helping to make the companies' operations more efficient, they said.

If his request to attend the board meeting had been approved, he would have been expected to dial into the meeting via teleconference, given the conditions of his bail, according to a person familiar with Nissan's thinking.

Senard told reporters that Ghosn is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

After his arrest, Ghosn was dismissed as chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Before his arrest in November, Ghosn had been chairman of all three individual companies while also leading the alliance.

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