Nissan Demotes Former Ghosn Aide Hari Nada

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TOKYO—

Nissan Motor Co.


NSANY -0.08%

said it demoted 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. He becomes 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 shakeup of the troubled company’s top ranks. Nissan declined to make Mr. Nada available for comment.

Hari Nada was part of a group of Nissan executives who cooperated with Japanese prosecutors ahead of Carlos Ghosn’s arrest.


Photo:

Nissan

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 in 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 sean.mclain@wsj.com

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