"Since the arrest former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn last month, various reports have come out revealing the strained relationship between Nissan and its alliance partner, Renault. It has also brought up questions as to whether or not Nissan decided to 'push' Ghosn out by using the misuse of corporate assets as the reason. A new report from The Wall Street Journal is only stoking those fires.
Sources tell the paper that Ghosn was planning to "shake up the senior management ranks at Nissan" and told some executives that he was planning on replacing current Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa - his hand-picked successor. While Ghosn supported Saikawa in public, the two would clash over various problems the company was facing. This included,
- Problems with inspections done on JDM vehicles, prompting recalls of more than a million vehicles
- Declining sales in the U.S.
According to one source, Ghosn wanted to oust Saikawa and planned to put it to a vote at a board meeting in November. But that would not happen as Ghosn would be arrested in early on in the month. The board would oust Ghosn at a meeting later on in the month.
Some believed that Saikawa wasn't in danger. A source familiar with the relationship between the two said "their differences hadn’t reached a point where Mr. Ghosn would have contemplated removing Mr. Saikawa."
Still, Saikawa's reputation is taking quite the hit. The Nikkei has learned that Saikawa had signed various documents that "spelled out payments to Ghosn after his retirement as a consultant and for agreeing not to work for or join the board of any competitor." These documents are being used as evidence to show that Ghosn deferring payments of current salaries that were not reported. While prosecutors don't believe Saikawa knew about this, his position as CEO may be questioned "for missing the opportunity to catch the improprieties."