Receive breaking news and special reports. The news and stories that mattered provided the day of the week in the morning.
By Paul A. Eisenstein
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has begun Nissan's executive pay investigation, the automaker said Monday.
Just days after Nissota's chief executive officer Hirota Saikawa said he would resign. Saikawa's reign was tarnished by the ongoing scandal over the now defeated Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn. The 64-year-old executive was arrested in Tokyo in November and is now facing numerous charges, including $ 88 million.
"We received an investigation and cooperate fully" with the SEC probe Nissan told NBC News, adding, "We can not provide any further details."
The investigation adds to the problems of the automaker, which is now starting to search for a new global CEO.
Saikawa's decision to resign was widely anticipated after the Ghosn scandal, after he was heavily criticized, especially in the West, for his role in the arrest and persecution of his erstwhile mentor. The question is whether his decision to resign will help save the relationship between Nissan and Renault, which saved him from bankruptcy two decades ago.
The 65-year-old Nissan boss said it was time to hand over the baton. a move that many observers had expected both inside and outside the Alliance. At a meeting with reporters, Saikawa said he "fully respected Renault's new management team," but he also appeared to be a warning when he emphasized that Nissan would "play a more active role in the alliance." 1
The crisis began on November 19, when the 64-year-old Ghosn, who served in a police department, had several roles within The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has been arrested for alleged investigations, which according to Saikawa were triggered by a whistleblower. However, many observers quickly began to question whether the case was a coup.
The Nissan CEO did little to address these concerns when he stated at a press conference that Ghosn had acquired "too much power," Saikawa continued. Nissan wanted Nissan's power within the alliance, and in particular its ability to appoint new board members and senior executives Designate Employees Restrict.
Renault was initially considered a White Knight when he invested $ 6 billion to save a small fortune – Nissan bankruptcy in 1999. Born in Brazil, Ghosn was tasked with overseeing this rescue operation and soon became head of the company Japanese car manufacturer appointed. Later, he took the same title at the French car manufacturer and took over the leadership of the umbrella organization of the umbrella organization. At the time of his arrest, Ghosn had resigned from Nissan's day-to-day operations to oversee Mitsubishi's transition plans, which joined the group in 2016. Saikawa took over the position of Nissan boss.
Japanese news media reported that Ghosn's trip to Japan should allow him to fire Saikawa. In turn, he would have been replaced by one of several executives more open to Renault's plan to fully merge the two automakers.
This was an open target of the French Government, the largest shareholder of Renault. And with 43.4 percent of its ally, the French automaker was in a good position to force such a move.
Cracks in the Alliance were immediately visible. While Nissan and Mitsubishi immediately dismissed Ghosn following his arrest, Renault refused to dismiss the executive, which was confirmed by several leaders who said that "due process" had to be followed.
Last week Ghosn resigned from his lawyers. Renault quickly split his responsibilities between Jean-Dominique Senard, who will serve as the new chairman of the French automaker, while Thierry Bolloré, a longtime Lieutenant of Ghosn, will become his new CEO.
Even then, the automaker and his government The supporters kept making the idea of a merger, something that could hinder the healing of the bruises caused by the Ghosn affair.
Saikawa is expected to take several months before leaving Nissan. Who will replace him is uncertain. Some rely on Yasuhiro Yamauchi, the car manufacturer's current chief operating officer. But Yamauchi has been considered too close to Ghosn in the upper ranks.
From the detailed discussions with executives of both companies, it is clear that Renault and Nissan do not really want to see the separation of their alliance. With the addition of Mitsubishi, the Group rose to the top of the global sales charts in 2017, using the traditional industry leaders Volkswagen and Toyota. The partnership has paid off in many ways, including reducing product development and purchasing costs. At a time when the industry is under tremendous pressure to invest in autonomous and electrified propulsion technologies, a breakup could prove risky for all members of the alliance.