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Home / Business / Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa expected to retire in the wake of the overpayment scandal | business

Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa expected to retire in the wake of the overpayment scandal | business



Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa has said he will resign, Japanese media reports have said, after admitting he unduly overpaid in the latest upheaval to hit the Japanese carmaker.

Saikawa's expected departure, reported in Sunday's daily business newspaper Nikkei, on Sunday, the company faces the fallout from the arrest of its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, on charges of financial abuse.

Saikawa said he wanted to "give the baton" to a new generation of leaders and had told colleagues that he intended to retire, Nikkei said.

He acknowledged last week that he had been overpaid by tens of millions of yen under an incentive scheme that awards bonuses to directors if the company's share price performs well.

Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive who was arrested along with Ghosn, claimed in a magazine interview in June that Saikawa had manipulated the execution date o for his stock rights, so he could receive another 47 million yen (£ 358,000), according to the news agency Kyodo.

Saikawa refused to ask for extra money, saying that he was unaware that the payment scheme had been handled incorrectly. "I handed the case over to someone else, so I thought it was being dealt with appropriately," he told reporters, adding that he would repay the sum to Nissan.

The disclosure, which will be discussed at a Nissan board meeting later on Monday, has increased pressure on Saikawa, who has led profit losses and positions at Nissan since Ghosn's dramatic arrest last November sent shockwaves through the industry.

  Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa



Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa Photo: Issei Kato / Reuters

Reuters reported that Nissan's Election Committee had already prepared a shortlist of more than 10 possible candidates to replace Saikawa. The committee will meet on Monday to discuss his successor and the date of resignation, a source told Reuters, adding, "Saikawa is not clinging to the president's head at all."

Ghosn, who had led Nissan for two decades before his arrest , he is accused of under-reporting his salary with tens of millions of dollars and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan.

The Frenchman, who also has Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship, has denied any wrongdoing. He has accused Nissan executives of conspiring to arrest him over baseless fear of his plans for a closer alliance between the Japanese carmaker and alliance partner Renault.

Attorneys for Ghosn, who spent a total of 129 days in custody in Tokyo before granting bail once in April, said last week that his trial was not expected to begin until March next year.

Junichiro Hironaka, a member of Ghosn's defense team, said Nissan was guilty of double standards in his treatment of Ghosn and Saikawa.

"Nissan must have known about the wrongful payment to Saikawa when it brought its own probe to Ghosn," quoted Kyodo Hironaka. "It turned a blind eye to Saikawa and went only after Ghosn."


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