Nissan panel states facts point to legal violations by Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn Renault-Nissan

An external committee evaluating governance at Nissan Motor stated on Wednesday there were enough facts to assume violations of laws and the private use of company funds by former chairman Carlos Ghosn.

After a three-month audit of Nissan’s governance following a scandal that shook the worldwide auto industry, the committee put the blame directly on what it called Ghosn’s concentration of power. It also agrees Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa’s role in Ghosn’s income arrangement at the heart of the scandal.

In these twenty years since Renault SA agreed to rescue Nissan, the committee referred a corporate culture at Nissan “in which no one can make any objections to Mr. Ghosn”, who was “in a way deified within Nissan as a savior who had rescued Nissan from collapse”.

A representative for Ghosn answered in a statement that the accusations made against the former Nissan chairman “will be uncovered for what they are: part of an unsubstantiated smear campaign against Carlos Ghosn to avoid the integration of the Alliance and conceal Nissan’s deteriorating performance.”

The group issued 38 recommendations to enhance Nissan’s governance, including that leading executive positions at the Japanese automaker should not be held by people serving in executive positions at Renault or junior partner Mitsubishi Motors.

It also proposed that the most of directors, consisting of the chairman of the board, be independent, outside directors and that the role of firm’s chairman be abolished.

Replying to the committee’s comments, Saikawa informed reporters on Thursday that Nissan would seriously think about the committee’s recommendations, that he characterized as “tough”.

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