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Nissan turns down corporate conspiracy to oust ex-chairman Ghosn

Nissan Motor on Monday criticized suggestions in media reports of a conspiracy within the company to eliminate former chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn’s 2018 arrest in Japan on financial misconduct charges has led to much speculation that the move was executed by Nissan executives who were against closer ties with partner Renault SA.

This month, an email trail supported claims of Carlos Ghosn that his ouster was set up.

“I know that in books and the media there has been talk about a conspiracy but there are no facts whatsoever to support this,” said Motoo Nagai, the chairman of Nissan’s auditing committee, during shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.

Replying to demands from a shareholder to address the claim, Nagai argued that the investigation into Ghosn was carried out both internally and by outside law firms.

Monday’s meeting lasted nearly two hours – twice as long as planned, as shareholders grilled CEO Makoto Uchida on how he prepares to restore trust in the company after the Ghosn scandal and revive sales in most significant markets.

Uchida, who took the position in December, informed shareholders he would stick to his promise to quit as a leader if he fails to deliver on a turnaround plan for the automaker, which last month reported its first annual loss in 11 years.

Seeking to cut costs and downsize after years of heavy spending in the pursuit of market share, the automaker plans to cut its model range by about a fifth and decrease production capacity, closing plants in Spain and Indonesia and laying off workers in countries such as Mexico.

It now aims to sell 5 million vehicles annually, far less than past ambitions of 8 million.

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