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Nissan CEO Saikawa resigns amid compensation scandal

By just-auto.com editorial team | 9 September 2019

Saikawa decided to resign  after admitting being improperly paid following an internal investigation at Nissan

Saikawa decided to resign after admitting being improperly paid following an internal investigation at Nissan

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa has resigned in the wake of a scandal over his compensation and over-payments.

Yasuhiro Yamauchi will become acting Nissan CEO on September 16. In a statement Nissan said its nomination committee will 'accelerate its efforts to select a successor for the CEO position, with the goal of concluding the search by the end of October'.

The Nissan Motor nominating committee met on Monday to discuss the matter after Saikawa privately indicated to some executives within the company his readiness to resign after admitting last week to having been "improperly" overpaid.

His resignation brings further upheaval to a company that has been trying to find its way after the arrest last November of Carlos Ghosn over allegations of financial misconduct. Ghosn was later ousted from his position as chairman of the carmaker.

Saikawa was central to efforts to implicate Ghosn, which was seen in some quarters as an effective board coup to prevent a full merger with Renault – Nissan's largest shareholder with a 43.4% stake.

An internal investigation found Saikawa and other executives had received improper compensation, raising doubts about Saikawa's pledge to improve corporate governance following the ouster of Ghosn.

Pressure on Saikawa had been growing in recent months due to the company's poor performance and its increasingly strained ties with Renault.

Saikawa said he wanted to "pass the baton" to the next generation as soon as possible after admitting to being improperly overpaid in violation of internal procedures – but only after these were brought to light by the internal investigation.

Saikawa's resignation over financial misconduct will be seen by many as an eerie parallel to the downfall of ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, once Saikawa's boss and his chief rival in a power struggle inside the company.