Proxy advisers lob rare rebuke against Nissan CEO Saikawa

(Reuters) – Two leading proxy advisory firms have urged Nissan shareholders to vote against reappointing its chief executive as a director, heaping more pressure on Hiroto Saikawa as he struggles to find accord with alliance partner Renault.

FILE PHOTO: Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa speaks during a news conference at its global headquarters building in Yokohama, Japan, December 17, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The move marks a rare public rebuke by international proxy firms against the leader of a top-tier Japanese firm, and comes just as the scandal-hit automaker struggles to move on from the legacy of Carlos Ghosn, its ousted chairman who stands accused of financial misconduct.

It also underscores the precarious position of Saikawa, who was groomed for leadership by Ghosn but appears unable to mend a relationship with Renault that one source said appeared to be in jeopardy.

Institutional Shareholder Services recommended shareholders vote against Saikawa as director at Nissan’s annual general meeting this month, to ensure a “clean break” from the Carlos Ghosn era. Ghosn, first arrested in November, is awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges. He denies all the charges against him.

“When the company needs to break from the past and build a strong board with fresh members, the reelection of Hiroto Saikawa, who has been on the board for 14 years and worked closely with Carlos Ghosn, does not appear appropriate,” Institutional Shareholder Services said in a research note.

The firm also advised shareholders to vote against the nomination of Moto Nagai to Nissan’s board, saying the former executive of Mizuho Financial

Keep reading this article on Reuters Business.

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