November 20, 2018 13:19 CET
Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa said on Monday that American board member Greg Kelly is a co-conspirator of the financial misconduct created by Chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Saikawa accused Ghosn of three financial misdeeds and said the board on Thursday would vote to dismiss his longtime colleague. Nissan Motor Co.’s alliance partners, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., are expected to follow suit this week.
Both Ghosn and Kelly were arrested by Japanese authorities, Saikawa said.
“We have confirmed these two are the masterminds,” Saikawa said, noting Kelly will be dismissed as well. “This is an act that cannot be tolerated.”
An internal investigation by Nissan showed that for several months both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities reports that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Ghosn’s compensation, the company said in a statement on Monday.
According to his official biography posted on Nissan’s website, Kelly, 62, joined Nissan North American Inc. in 1988, as senior manager and associate legal counsel. Prior to joining Nissan, Kelly was an attorney for Barnes & Thornburg, a law firm. He became director of human resources for Nissan in August 1993 and Nissan’s senior director of human resources in April 2000.
Kelly was nominated for the company’s board in June 2012, making him the first American board member for the Japanese automaker. At the time, Nissan had four non-Japanese executives on its nine-member board. One of those board members was Carlos Tavares, who is Portuguese. Tavares left Nissan in 2014 and is now head of Renault’s French rival, PSA.
In addition to holding his position as Nissan’s head of global human resources, Kelly was appointed head of Alliance Talent Management in 2014. Kelly previously was corporate vice president for Nissan before being promoted to senior vice president in 2009. Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in public administration in 1978 from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., according to Nissan. He earned his law degree from the Loyola University School of Law in June 1981.
It is not known where Ghosn and Kelly are being held in Japan, or how long the legal process will take.
In a previous report, a representative for the Tokyo prosecutors office said it doesn’t comment on individual cases. Under Japanese law, prosecutors need to make official charges before a case can be brought to court. Therefore, Ghosn’s arrest doesn’t mean that he will be found guilty.
French government officials, according to media reports, will be asking Japanese authorities for evidence of Ghosn’s alleged crimes.
Ellen Mitchell and Hans Greimel contributed to this report.
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