Controversy-stricken Japanese carmaker Nissan’s board of directors met at the company’s global headquarters in Yokohama earlier on Thursday, where sources say that CEO Hiroto Saikawa was entrusted with the position of interim Chairman, replacing its charismatic chairman and once saviour, Carlos Ghosn.
Shortly after the meeting, Nissan released a statement saying: “At the beginning of the session, the board acknowledged the significance of the matter and confirmed that the long-standing Alliance partnership with Renault remains unchanged and that the mission is to minimise the potential impact and confusion on the day-to-day cooperation among the Alliance partners.”
Nissan’s board unanimously voted on the following points:
- Carlos Ghosn would be discharged as the Chairman of the Board, as well as the Representative Director
- Ghosn’s alleged accomplice, Greg Kelly, would also be discharged as the Representative Director
- A special committee would be created to appropriately take advice from an independent third party regarding the governance management system and better governance of director compensation. Further to the mandate, the three independent directors – Masakazu Toyoda, Keiko Ihara and Jean-Baptiste Duzan – will lead this matter.
- An advisory committee will be established. This committee will be chaired by Masakazu Toyoda and include Keiko Ihara and Jean-Baptiste Duzan. The committee will propose nominations from the board of directors for the position of Chairman of the Board.
Till 2017, Ghosn was both Chairman and CEO of Nissan Motors, until he relinquished the position of CEO to Saikawa, a longtime deputy and colleague who Ghosn had presented to the world as his protege. Ghosn, one of the best paid executives in both France and Japan, was arrested by Japanese authorities, who were tipped off by a whistleblower. Charges against him include under-reporting income of about $44 million and misusing company funds at Nissan for his own personal benefit.
While Nissan maintained the position that the interim chairman hasn’t been decided yet, sources familiar with the matter are certain that Saikawa is by far the board’s favourite choice.