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Fresh Nissan crisis as top official quits

AFP
The senior executive in charge of plans to revive crisis-hit Nissan has decided to quit just weeks after taking the job, sending the carmaker's stock plunging more than 3 percent.
AFP
Fresh Nissan crisis as top official quits
Reuters

Nissan Motor's executive officer vice-COO Jun Seki attends a news conference at Nissan Motor's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, on December 2, 2019.

The senior executive in charge of plans to revive crisis-hit Nissan has decided to quit just weeks after taking the job, sending the carmaker’s stock plunging more than 3 percent on Wednesday.

Jun Seki, 58, No. 3 at Nissan, had informed them of his decision to leave and the company had accepted it, the automaker said in a statement.

Seki, currently executive officer and vice chief operating officer, is expected to become president of major electric components maker Nidec, according to a source close to Nissan.

Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer and No. 2 at Nissan, should take the responsibility for the recovery plan instead of Seki, the source said.

Struggling to rebuild itself after former chief Carlos Ghosn’s financial scandal, Nissan just started its new management under chief executive and president Makoto Uchida on December 1.

The company said on Wednesday it “has been on a steady path to regain trust, restore the company’s performance and work on its business transformation, and is already seeing progress.”

“Under the new top management, Nissan will continue to focus on these key areas, which remain our highest priority,” it said in the statement.

But investors were not convinced.

Makoto Sengoku, market analyst from Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, said Seki’s resignation came at “an impossible timing.”

“He was the No. 3 and was supposed to be a central figure to drive the reform. It was inevitable that such a man’s departure spawned caution toward Nissan,” Sengoku said.

“It’s an urgent task for Nissan to revamp itself but there is a doubt over how stable its leadership is,” he said.

Nissan, in a three-way alliance with Mitsubishi Motors and France’s Renault, last month slashed its full-year forecast for both sales and profit as it struggles with weak demand in Japan, the US and Europe, as well as fallout from the arrest of Ghosn for alleged financial misconducts in November 2018 and is awaiting his trial which may start around April.

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