Thursday 5 September 2019 7:36 am

Nissan boss admits overpayment as boardroom scandal roars back into life

Nissan’s long-running scandal over executive pay has received a new lease of life after chief executive Hiroto Saikawa admitted he was overpaid in violation of internal company rules via a scheme designed by disgraced former boss Carlos Ghosn.

An internal investigation is said to have found Saikawa and several other executives had received more pay that they were allowed at the Japanese giant.

Read more: Nissan and Renault workers left with ‘nothing to do’ after Ghosn arrest

Saikawa admitted to reporters outside his home in Japan on Thursday that the incentive scheme’s operation had been “different to what it should have been”, according to local press reports.

“I am deeply sorry for causing concern,” Saikawa said, according to Jiji Press.

He said the scheme was one of several “from the Ghosn era”. He denied any active role in the scheme, and that he plans to return excess payments.

The alleged improper payments include tens of millions of yen Saikawa received through a stock appreciation rights (SAR) scheme. The revelations were made at a meeting of Nissan’s audit committee yesterday, according to Reuters sources.

Disciplinary action will likely be discussed at Nissan’s upcoming board meeting on Monday.

The revelations have emerged just as Nissan was moving on from its long-running investigation into former chairman Carlos Ghosn, who in the last year has faced a string of allegations about overpayment since his arrest in November 2018. 

Read more: Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn posts bail again after rearrest in Japan

Ghosn is awaiting trial in Japan after being accused of siphoning off tens-of-millions of pounds-worth of Nissan funds for himself.

He denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a boardroom coup.