Business Maverick

Nissan Reassigns Former Ghosn Aide and Whistle-Blower

By Bloomberg 10 October 2019
Caption
The Nissan Motor Co. logo is seen on the front grille of a vehicle at the company's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. Nissan Motor Co. is scheduled to release earnings figures on November 7. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Nissan Motor Co. reassigned Hari Nada, an executive who worked under former Chairman Carlos Ghosn and played a key role in his downfall.

The 55-year-old Hari Nada, formerly a senior vice president, will now be a senior adviser overseeing special projects, including upcoming legal action, Nissan said in a statement Wednesday. Ghosn, arrested for alleged financial crimes, is awaiting trial in Tokyo.

A Malaysian-born lawyer, Nada has been at Nissan since the 1990s and had worked closely with Greg Kelly, the other Nissan executive arrested along with Ghosn in November. Ghosn and Kelly have denied all charges.

Nada had been facing pressure to leave Nissan after being implicated in a a scandal at the company involving excess stock-linked compensation, which led to former Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa’s ouster last month.

Nada didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. In his previous position, he oversaw the corporate advisory office, the legal department, intellectual property and the chief security office.

“Although Nissan has found no evidence of inappropriate involvement by Nada in the internal investigation into executive misconduct led by former Chairman Carlos Ghosn and others, the change is aimed to avoid undue suspicion and to enable him to focus on important tasks for the company, such as forthcoming legal action,” Nissan said.

Nada’s reassignment follows a board meeting this week, where Makoto Uchida was appointed as Nissan’s new CEO. Hitoshi Kawaguchi, a Nissan executive in charge of communications, government affairs, will take over oversight of Nada’s departments, affairs, according to the statement.

Read more: Nissan Power Struggle Ends With Three New Renault-Backed Leaders

Nada is said to have been closely involved with many aspects of the chairman’s compensation, serving as one of three administrators of Zi-A Capital BV, a Dutch subsidiary of Nissan created by Kelly that purchased a house for Ghosn in Beirut. Nada was also aware of documents proposing that payments totaling as much as $80 million be made to Ghosn after his eventual retirement, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

Prior to Ghosn’s arrest, Nada and an administrator named Toshiaki Onuma were said to have become concerned that some of what they saw might be criminal, and eventually approached Japanese authorities. Facing the risk of becoming subjects of interest in the inquiry, they secured cooperation agreements under new judicial rules allowing plea bargains, in exchange for providing evidence against Ghosn.

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