Saikawas fate to be discussed by board on Monday after admission that he was overpaid by hundreds of thousands of pounds

The chief executive of Nissan, Hiroto Saikawa, has said he will resign, Japanese media reports have said, after he admitted being improperly overpaid in the latest upheaval to hit the Japanese vehicle maker.

Saikawas expected resignation, reported on Sunday in the Nikkei daily business newspaper, comes as the company attempts to cope with the fallout from the arrest last year of its former chairman Carlos Ghosn over allegations of financial misconduct.

Saikawa said he wanted to pass the baton to a new generation of executives and had told colleagues he intended to step down, the 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 companys 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 of his stock appreciation rights so he could receive an additional 47m yen (358,000), according to Kyodo news agency.

Saikawa denied requesting the extra cash, saying he was not aware that the payment scheme had been handled improperly. I left the issue to someone else so I had thought it was dealt with in an appropriate manner, he told reporters, adding that he would repay the sum to Nissan.

The revelation, to be discussed at a Nissan board meeting later on Monday, has increased pressure on Saikawa, who has presided over profit losses and job cuts at Nissan since Ghosns dramatic arrest last November sent shockwaves through the industry.

Nissan
Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Reuters reported that Nissans nominating committee had already drawn up a shortlist of more than 10 possible candidates to replace Saikawa. The committee will meet on Monday to discuss his successor and the timing of his resignation, a source told Reuters, adding, Saikawa isnt at all clinging to his presidents chair.

Ghosn, who had led Nissan for two decades before his arrest, is accused of underreporting his salary by tens of millions of dollars and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan.

The Frenchman, who also has Brazilian and Lebanese nationality, has denied any wrongdoing. He has accused Nissan executives of conspiring to have him arrested over unfounded fears about his plans for a closer alliance between the Japanese carmaker and alliance partner Renault.

Lawyers for Ghosn, who spent a total of 129 days in detention in Tokyo before being granted bail a second time in April, said last week that his trial was not expected to begin until March next year.

Junichiro Hironaka, a member of Ghosns defence team, said Nissan was guilty of double standards in its treatment of Ghosn and Saikawa.

Nissan must have known about the improper payment to Saikawa when it conducted its in-house probe into Ghosn, Kyodo quoted Hironaka as saying. It turned a blind eye to Saikawa and only went after Ghosn.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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