YOKOHAMA, Japan — Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa tendered his resignation Monday after acknowledging that he had received dubious income and vowed to pass the leadership of the Japanese automaker to a new generation. Board member Yasushi Kimura told reporters at an evening news conference at company headquarters in Yokohama that the board has approved Saikawa's resignation, effective Sept. 16, and a successor will be appointed next month. A search is underway, he added. Calls for Saikawa's resignation, which arose after the arrest last year of his predecessor, Carlos Ghosn, on various financial misconduct allegations, have grown louder after Saikawa acknowledged last week that he had received dubious payments. The income was linked to the stock price of Nissan Motor Co., and he has said his pay got inflated by illicitly adjusting the date for cashing in. The automaker's board met to look into the allegations against Saikawa, as well as other issues related to Ghosn's allegations and corporate ethics at the company. Kimura said the income Saikawa had received was confirmed as "not illegal." Ghosn, who is out on bail and awaiting trial, says he's innocent. Kimura and three other board members, who all have backgrounds outside the company, said their investigation of the scandal over Ghosn's arrest found that alleged misconduct by Ghosn and Greg Kelly, a former board member who was also arrested, had caused 35 billion yen ($350 million) in damage to the company. Nissan will seek a repayment of the damages, Kimura said. The board said about 10 candidates are being considered as a replacement for Saikawa. They did not identify them, but said outsiders and non-Japanese are on the list. Until a successor is decided, Chief Operating Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi will serve as interim chief, the board said. Saikawa has not been charged. "I have been trying to do what needs to be done so that I can pass the baton over as soon as possible," he told reporters earlier in the day, referring to his willingness to leave his job. Saikawa did not appear at the news conference initially, but the four board members who led the event said he would later. Saikawa has said he didn't know about the improprieties, promised to return the money and blamed the system he said Ghosn had created at Nissan for the dubious payments. Japanese media reports said Saikawa had received tens of millions of yen (hundreds of thousands of dollars) in extra compensation. Ghosn has been charged with falsifying documents on deferred compensation, which means he did not receive any of the money. Nissan's profits and sales have tumbled over the past year. Investors are also worried about Nissan's relationship with alliance partner Renault SA of France, which owns 43% of Nissan. Ghosn was sent in by Renault to lead Nissan two decades ago.
TOKYO — Nissan Motor Co was embroiled in another scandal over executive pay on Thursday after Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa admitted to being overpaid in violation of internal procedures under a scheme designed by ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn. An internal investigation found that Saikawa and other executives had received improper compensation, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, raising doubts about Saikawa's pledge to improve governance in the wake of Ghosn's arrest last year for alleged financial misconduct. Saikawa apologized and vowed to return any improperly paid money as he admitted to Japanese reporters earlier on Thursday that he had wrongly received stock-related compensation under "a scheme of the Ghosn era." "I am deeply sorry for causing concern," Saikawa said, according to Jiji Press. In other comments reported by Kyodo news, Saikawa denied any direct role in the execution of a stock appreciation rights (SAR) scheme and said he thought "proper procedures" had been taken. The improper payments, including tens of millions of yen Saikawa received through the SAR scheme, were disclosed on Wednesday at a meeting of Nissan's audit committee, said the source who declined to be identified because the information is not public. Disciplinary action regarding the issue would be discussed at an upcoming board meeting, the source added. Nissan said in a statement that the findings from its probe including issues related to the share appreciation rights would be submitted to its board on Sept. 9. The company has been trying to strengthen governance, slash costs and boost flagging profitability amid persistent allegations of financial misconduct stemming from Ghosn's 20-year reign at Japan's second-biggest automaker. Ghosn is awaiting trial in Japan over charges including enriching himself at a cost of $5 million to Nissan. Kyodo reported that proceedings could start as early as March. He denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a boardroom coup. Confidence in Saikawa had already been shaken by accusations he was too close to Ghosn, whose arrest in November rocked the global auto industry and exposed tensions in the automaking partnership between Nissan and Renault SA. The company launched its internal investigation after Japanese magazine Bungei Shunju in June published accusations by former director Greg Kelly that Saikawa was granted an exception in 2013 to reschedule a stock-linked bonus that bumped up the payout by 47 million yen ($445,962). Like Ghosn, Kelly is awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct which he denies. The latest compensation issue could exacerbate tensions with top shareholder Renault, after a failed attempt by the French automaker to secure a full merger with Nissan and to combine Renault with Fiat Chrysler (FCA). Saikawa opposed both plans. Renault spokesman Frederic Texier declined to comment on the issue on Thursday. But a source close the company said Renault would "respect Nissan's governance" and leave the board to consider its response. The alliance partners are discussing reforms that could win Nissan's support for a renewed FCA-Renault tie-up, including a potential reduction to Renault's 43.4% stake in Nissan. Saikawa was re-appointed by shareholders with the lowest approval rating among the 11 directors in June.
PARIS — A senior Renault-Nissan executive has quit the troubled carmaking alliance to join Peugeot maker PSA Group, blaming Renault boss Thierry Bollore for forcing his exit. Former alliance director Arnaud Deboeuf will become PSA's industrial strategy director under Chief Executive Carlos Tavares, himself a former Renault second-in-command, the rival French carmaker confirmed on Tuesday. Deboeuf's exit underscores deep tensions threatening to subsume the Renault-Nissan alliance in the wake of the November 2018 arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, now awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges he denies. Those tensions have been exacerbated by failed attempts under Bollore and new Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard to secure a full Renault-Nissan merger and to combine Renault with Fiat Chrysler, a move thwarted by the French state. Deboeuf was well regarded at Nissan and even offered a senior executive role at the Japanese carmaker, as his relations with Bollore soured following Ghosn's ouster, three sources told Reuters. But Bollore, a former Ghosn protégé who succeeded his absent boss as CEO in January, blocked the move. "Thierry Bollore told me no one wanted to work with me ... and that I could not go to work at Nissan either," Deboeuf said in a farewell email to colleagues seen by Reuters. Renault declined to comment on Deboeuf's departure. Deboeuf did not respond to requests for comment. His move adds to a steady Renault brain-drain to PSA since 2013, when Tavares was hired to rescue the carmaker from near-bankruptcy. Other switchers from Renault include Yann Vincent, PSA's executive vice president for manufacturing, and powertrain engineering chief Alain Raposo. Tavares, who preceded Bollore as Ghosn's No.2 at Renault, was pushed out after publicly voicing CEO ambitions. Under its Portuguese-born leader, PSA has set new profitability records while making swift headway on the integration of Opel, acquired from General Motors in 2017.
We have often reported that Sony will not give up on its smartphone business, despite drastically shrinking its operations in recent years. Sony has previously said that this has been led by the ambition of being a leading 5G player has seen the smartphone at the hub of that. Sony's CEO reiterated its commitment to smartphones but gave a more fundamental reason to keep dabbling in mobile.
TOKYO — Mitsubishi Motors Corp said on Friday that Osamu Masuko will step down as its chief executive on June 21 and be replaced by Takao Kato, who is president of its operations in Indonesia.
Masuko will retain his role as chairman of the board, Mitsubishi Motors said in a statement, adding that Masuko and Kato will hold a press conference on May 20 to discuss the changes.