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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 March 2019

Senior Nissan executive leaves amid Ghosn fallout

Arun Bajaj was senior vice president for human resources for Nissan’s alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn. The Japanese firm is undergoing a management shuffle. AFP
Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn. The Japanese firm is undergoing a management shuffle. AFP

A senior Nissan human resources executive left the car maker as part of a wider senior management shuffle, as the company revamps its leadership following the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn in November.

Arun Bajaj exited the company as of March 11 after a leave of absence, the Yokohama, Japan-based car maker said on Wednesday. Mr Bajaj was senior vice president for HR for Nissan’s alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors. Separately, Jose Valls will take on the additional responsibility of president of Nissan North America, the company added.

The shuffling of key executives underscores the unwinding of a power structure built during almost two decades by Mr Ghosn, who is accused of falsifying financial records and breach of trust by Japanese prosecutors. That culminated in the formation this week of a new governance board for the alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi. At the same time, Nissan needs to reboot growth in the US and China, and stake out a strategy for growth in electric vehicles.

Mr Bajaj’s departure follows the January exit of former chief performance officer Jose Munoz, a close confidant of Mr Ghosn. Roland Krueger, former president of Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti, also left in January to join Dyson’s automotive unit, which plans to sell an electric vehicle by 2021. Infiniti promoted sales and marketing chief Christian Meunier to succeed Mr Krueger.

Mr Ghosn also handpicked former Nissan executives Mitsuhiko Yamashita and Vincent Cobee to help him rebuild Mitsubishi after its fuel-efficiency scandal. Mr Cobee will also leave next month, while Mr Yamashita will remain as an adviser.

Some of the exits may impact Nissan’s ability to compete in electric cars, with few executives quitting to join aspiring start-ups in China. Kazuo Yajima, a former alliance director for EVs who helped engineer the Leaf, left the company last year for Qoros Auto as chief executive in February. Qoros also hired former Nissan managers to take up other management roles including operations and development.

Updated: March 13, 2019 12:46 PM

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