Nissan chairman removed over ‘acts of misconduct’

The Tokyo Stock Exchang  has announced the removal of Japanese car giant Nissan chairman, Carlos Ghosn, over concerns about alleged ‘acts of misconduct’ relating to his pay and benefits

In a statement, Nissan said it had been conducting an internal investigation over the past several months regarding misconduct involving Ghosn and another director, Greg Kelly, which was based on a whistleblower report.

The company said its investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Ghosn’s compensation.

The statement continued: ‘Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly’s deep involvement has also been confirmed.’

Nissan has been providing information to the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office and has been fully cooperating with their investigation.

Nissan’s CEO Hiroto Saikawa has indicated that Ghosn and Kelly are to be removed immediately from their executive roles.

The company said: ‘Nissan deeply apologises for causing great concern to our shareholders and stakeholders. We will continue our work to identify our governance and compliance issues, and to take appropriate measures.’

Details of the alleged misconduct are sketchy, but Japanese media suggests Ghosn was believed to under-reported his income by Y5bn (£34.5m) over five years, and using company assets for personal purposes, including the purchase of several luxury homes around the world.

As well as his role at Nissan, Ghosn heads up the Japanese-French car alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. Both Nissan and Mitsubishi have said they are preparing to remove him from his posts, and France’s finance minister has said that Ghosn was no longer able to head Renault.

Bruno Le Maire said he would ask for interim management be put in place immediately at Renault as Ghosn was ‘no longer in a position to lead the group’. The French state owns 15% of the company.

Report by Pat Sweet

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