TOKYO – Carlos Ghosn was planning to remove Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa before Ghosn was arrested in Japan last month for alleged financial misconduct, people familiar with the matter said.
Ghosn, who was then Nissan's chairman, was planning a wider management shakeup, and part of the blueprint included a new CEO, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
The timeline of the shuffle was unclear. One source said Ghosn was planning to discuss the reorganization during a November trip to Japan with an eye toward implementing it next spring.
“He was getting ready for a shakeup that was going to affect Saikawa,” the other source said. “It was a path to a different CEO.”
But Ghosn never had a chance to discuss the matter with Nissan’s board.
Authorities arrested Ghosn on Nov. 19 after his plane landed in Tokyo. He has been detained in a Tokyo jail ever since as investigators probe allegations that he hid about $80 million in compensation from financial filings over eight years. Nissan’s board ousted Ghosn as its chairman three days after his arrest and is scheduled to meet Dec. 17 to appoint a replacement.
Ghosn’s plot to remove Saikawa as CEO was reported earlier Sunday by The Wall Street Journal.