Hiroto Saikawa says he will 'pass the baton on' after he finishes reforming the company's corporate governance.
In a late night press conference in Tokyo, Hiroto Saikawa, CEO of Nissan, told reporters, including those from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, he "would like to complete my responsibilities as quickly as possible and pass the baton on to the next leader".
Saikawa stated he will concentrate on overhauling the company's governance structures. Its three independent directors and outside experts are currently looking into the issue and plan to deliver a report by the end of March.
The company will use that report as the basis for a proposed suite of changes, which will go before shareholders during Nissan's annual general meeting in June.
It's not known at this stage when exactly Saikawa is planning to leave his position as CEO, or who might replace him. As Renault has a 43 per cent voting stake in Nissan, it has the ability to choose the CEO.
The revelation from Saikawa took place not even a day after Renault confirmed Carlos Ghosn had quit as its chairman and CEO. The French automaker will now be lead by Thierry Bolore, previously its chief operating officer, while current Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard will has been appointed as Renault's new chairman.
Interestingly Senard will be Renault's representative at the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, and has been given the green light to lead the "discussion on the Alliance's organisation and evolution".
Saikawa joined Nissan in 1977 after graduating from university, and was Ghosn's hand-picked successor to the top job. After serving as co-CEO from late 2016, he became sole CEO from April 2017.
After Ghosn was arrested on November 19, 2018, Saikawa held a press conference where he confirmed Ghosn and Greg Kelly, another Nissan executive, had been arrested by authorities after a secret internal investigation had unearthed under-reporting of Ghosn's income, as well as inappropriate use of corporate investment funds, and misusing company expenses.
Saikawa also went on to outline "negative impact" of the former CEO, especially during the later years of his reign. He reluctantly admitted Ghosn carried out a "big reform" to help the company avoid bankruptcy in the early 2000s.