Nissan Motor no longer has an office staffed by an inner circle of people working for the chief executive officer following the arrest and exit of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, a person with knowledge of the change said.
The team was abolished as of April 1, said the person, asking not to be identified because the information hasn’t been made public yet. Although the office existed while Ghosn was Nissan’s CEO and was kept intact under his successor Hiroto Saikawa, it’s not clear when it was established.
A special corporate governance committee singled out the Office of the CEO as one of the reasons why it was difficult to detect misconduct at the highest levels of the Japanese automaker. It called on Nissan to change the “function and scope” of the group when it announced its recommendations on March 27. Nissan’s board is set to formally adopt the new rules, including the creation of a more independent board, by the end of June.
A spokesman for Yokohama-based Nissan declined to comment.
As chairman of Nissan and alliance partners Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Ghosn enjoyed unprecedented power before he was detained and arrested in November on charges on financial misconduct. He has denied the charges, blaming them on a “a very dirty game” by Nissan executives who were determined to oust him from the alliance.
Hari Nada, a Nissan senior vice president, was the last executive to hold the title of head of the Office of the CEO. Nada is cooperating with prosecutors in the investigation against Ghosn. Greg Kelly, who was arrested on the same day as Ghosn, also once headed the office.
Kelly is currently free on bail, while Ghosn was arrested again earlier this month after being free on bail for 29 days. Prosecutors said Ghosn used company money funneled through an intermediary for personal purposes, the most serious charges yet against him. His current detention period has been extended through to April 22.