By Sean McLain
TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co. said it limited the duties of a former Carlos Ghosn aide, Hari Nada, after board directors questioned Mr. Nada's continued role at the company.
Mr. Nada was a senior vice president in charge of legal affairs. While retaining the senior vice president title, he will no longer be in charge of legal affairs and will become a senior adviser working on forthcoming legal action, which a Nissan spokeswoman said included the coming criminal trial of Mr. Ghosn and Nissan. The spokeswoman said the decision took effect Tuesday, but the company didn't release the news until Wednesday.
The change came a day after Nissan directors chose a new chief executive to lead the company, part of a planned shake-up of the troubled company's top ranks. Nissan declined to make Mr. Nada available for comment.
Some board members had pushed to seek Mr. Nada's resignation or removal from the company's decision-making process after receiving numerous complaints from within the company about his continued role at Nissan.
Mr. Nada was part of a group of Nissan executives who secretly cooperated with Japanese prosecutors ahead of Mr. Ghosn's arrest last November. Mr. Ghosn faces charges of financial wrongdoing and has said he is innocent. Mr. Nada worked as a close aide to Mr. Ghosn and advised him on some of the issues under scrutiny by investigators. Mr. Nada signed an agreement with prosecutors to cooperate in return for not being prosecuted.
Mr. Nada's previous role has led some at the company to say he should have recused himself from all legal affairs. Many board members agreed, said people familiar with the board's discussions.
"It became a major risk for Nissan, because it creates an image of immorality at Nissan," one of those people said.
Mr. Nada became the focus of an internal clash at Nissan, with some Nissan lawyers saying Mr. Nada's role in the investigation and on legal matters created a conflict of interest that risked marring the company's investigation of Mr. Ghosn.
Another one of the people said there was disagreement among board members about how far they could go to sideline Mr. Nada, since he hasn't been found to have committed any misconduct by Nissan investigators or prosecutors.
Mr. Nada's roles as head of legal and security will be taken over by his boss, Hitoshi Kawaguchi. He was also a part of the group of Nissan executives who secretly investigated wrongdoing by Mr. Ghosn.
Write to Sean McLain at email@example.com
Corrections Nissan Motor Co. is limiting the duties of executive Hari Nada, whose roles as head of legal and security will be taken over by Executive Vice President Hitoshi Kawaguchi. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Nissan had demoted Mr. Nada and that Mr. Kawaguchi was Mr. Nada's boss (Oct. 9 and 10, 2019)