Ghosn whistleblower under pressure to resign from Nissan

Hari Nada, a senior vice president at the company, may leave this week, according to sources

A Nissan Motor Co. badge is seen on the grill of a vehicle at a car dealership in Joliet, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Auto sales in the U.S. probably took a big step back in September, setting the stage for hefty incentive spending by carmakers struggling to clear old models from dealers' inventory. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
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A central figure at Nissan who was instrumental in the downfall of former chairman Carlos Ghosn and a key go-between in the car maker's talks with partner Renault is under pressure to leave the company following a pay scandal.

The push to oust Hari Nada, 55, which has the support of Renault, may lead to him being forced to resign and could come as soon as this Tuesday's board meeting, sources said. He is co-operating with Japanese prosecutors under a plea-bargaining agreement in their case against Mr Ghosn for financial crimes.

A lawyer who studied in the UK and Japan, Mr Nada is a senior vice president at Nissan and worked in the chief executive’s office under Mr Ghosn and his successor, Hiroto Saikawa. He was recently implicated in a scandal at the company involving excess stock-linked compensation, which led to Mr Saikawa’s resignation last month. Mr Nada is expected to be a key witness in Mr Ghosn’s trial next year.

“He will continuously be a Nissan member and he has no reason to leave,” Nissan spokeswoman Azusa Momose said of Mr Nada, and declined to make him available for comment. Mr Nada did not comment and a representative for Renault declined to comment.

Nissan's board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, where they will discuss candidates for chief executive. The directors have set a deadline for end-October to announce a new leader, and are considering a shortlist of three candidates.

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

Mr 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, a Dutch subsidiary of Nissan created by Mr Kelly that purchased a house for Mr Ghosn in Beirut. Mr Nada was also aware of documents proposing that payments totaling as much as $80 million (Dh294m)  be made to Mr Ghosn after his eventual retirement, sources have said.

Prior to Mr Ghosn’s arrest, Mr 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 co-operation agreements under new judicial rules allowing plea bargains, in exchange for providing evidence against Mr Ghosn.