Tokyo: Nissan’s chief executive, Hiroto Saikawa, said he will resign days after he admitted being improperly overpaid, Japanese media reported. The embattled motor company’s nominating committee is now set to discuss potential successors for Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa at a meeting on Monday, a Reuters report said.
The resignation of Saikawa, a protege of former chairman Carlos Ghosn, would mark the latest upheaval over governance at the troubled Japanese automaker. The company has struggled to right itself following Ghosn’s dramatic arrest and subsequent ouster last year.
It was swept up again in crisis when Saikawa last week admitted to being overpaid by tens of millions of yen and in violation of internal procedures. That admission followed an internal investigation.
Nissan’s board is scheduled to meet on Monday. The company, and its relationship with top shareholder Renault SA, has been damaged following Ghosn’s arrest for alleged financial misconduct in November and subsequent departure.
“The nominating committee will also meet today and discuss the selection of successor and the timing of the resignation,” the Reuters report said, requesting anonymity because the information has not been made public.
“Saikawa isn’t at all clinging to his president’s chair.”
The timing of Saikawa’s resignation was not immediately clear. He has told some executives of his intention to resign, the Reuters report said. The chief executive earlier told reporters that he wanted to “pass the baton” to the next generation as soon as possible, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
Nissan was not immediately available to comment.
Pressure has mounted on Saikawa given the company’s poor performance and strained ties with Renault. Profit has tumbled to an 11-year low and prompted hefty job cuts.
A nominations committee established in June to find a successor to Saikawa is said to have drawn up a shortlist containing more than 10 possible candidates. According to reports, in the running are Jun Seki, who is overseeing the company’s performance recovery, Chief Competitive Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi, and Makoto Uchida, chairman of Nissan’s management committee in China, one of its largest markets.
The Reuters report also said that the search and vetting process would likely take about six months as the committee considered both Japanese and non-Japanese candidates for the role.
(With inputs from agencies)
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