Thursday 26 December 2019 9:10 am

Top Nissan boss steps down in blow to scandal-hit car firm

A senior Nissan executive has resigned from the company just weeks after taking up the job, marking a blow to the embattled car manufacturer’s turnaround plan.

Jun Seki, vice chief operating officer and the firm’s third highest-ranking executive, said he was leaving to become president of Kyoto-based car parts manufacturer Nidec.

Read more: Nissan faces £17m fine for Carlos Ghosn scandal, says Japanese watchdog

Seki, who was one of the contenders to take over as chief executive in October, is expected to step down in January. 

He has worked at Nissan for three decades, including as head of its China business, but only took up his current role this month.

“I love Nissan and I feel bad about leaving the turnaround work unfinished, but I am 58 years old, and this is an offer I could not refuse. It’s probably my last chance to lead a company too,” he said.

“It’s not about money. In fact, I will take a financial hit since Nissan pays us well.”

It comes as the Japanese company looks to turn around its fortunes after the shock arrest of chairman Carlos Ghosn last year.

Ghosn stands accused of understating his salary by about 9.1bn yen (£63.6m) over the course of the previous decade, and temporarily transferring his own financial losses onto Nissan’s books. He has denied the allegations.

Earlier this month Nissan was hit with a £17m fine by the Japan’s markets watchdog for its role in the scandal.

Nissan launched a new strategy in April designed to generate a few hundred billion yen in cost savings and operational efficiency by the year to March 2022, two sources told reuters.

In a statement, the company said it had accepted Seki’s decision to resign.

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“Nissan has been on a steady path to regain trust, restore the company’s performance and work on its business transformation, and is already seeing progress,” it said.

“Under the new top management, Nissan will continue to focus on these key areas, which remain our highest priority.”