An internal Nissan investigation has revealed that CEO Hiroto Saikawa, alongside other executives, were overpaid under a scheme allegedly organized by former chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Reuters reports that Saikawa addressed reporters on Thursday morning admitting that he had wrongly received stock-related compensation under Ghosn’s scheme and pledged to will return these funds.
A source within Nissan asserts that the improper payments, including tens of millions of yen that Saikawa received through Nissan’s stock appreciation (SAR) scheme, were addressed earlier this week during a meeting of Nissan’s audit committee. The same source added that an upcoming board meeting will discuss possible disciplinary action.
Nissan has released a statement asserting that the findings from its investigation will be submitted to its board on September 9.
News about Nissan executives receiving improper compensation comes at a sensitive time for the company, after Saikawa pledged to improve governance following the arrest of Ghosn last year.
The Japanese car manufacturer launched its internal probe after a Japanese magazine published accusations from former director Greg Kelly in June, who alleged that Saikawa had been granted an exception in 2013 to reschedule a stock-linked bonus that increased his payout by 47 million yen ($445,962).
Nissan alliance partner Renault has declined to comment on the matter, but there is a chance the compensation news could exacerbate tensions between the two automakers following Saikawa’s refusal to back a full Nissan-Renault merger as well as a potentially industry-altering deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).