The news also casts a shadow over the future of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Ghosn had been expected to step down as chairman of the alliance in the coming years, and he has been working behind the scenes to formulate a structure that will keep the carmakers working together while preserving their independence and brand identity.
In Japan, Ghosn has been a controversial figure for his outsized salary, routinely the top among this nation’s auto executives. Nissan, as a whole, argues it needs to pay its executives more than the Japanese average to attract top-tier global talent in an international industry.
Nissan reported in securities filings that it paid him about 1.1 billion yen ($10 million) for 2016 and about $6.5 million in the most recent fiscal year. He reportedly took home about $8.5 million at Renault and about $2 million from Mitsubishi in the latest period. At Renault, his package for 2017 was narrowly passed by Renault shareholders, but only after he agreed to a 20 percent reduction.
Ghosn was sent by Renault in 1999 to take over a then flailing Nissan as COO. He became Nissan president the following year and was CEO from June 2001. He became co-current president of Renault in 2005 and chairman of Mitsubishi Motors in 2016. He relinquished his CEO title at Nissan last year.
Saikawa joined Nissan in 1977 and was its chief competitive officer from 2013 to 2016. He previously had roles as the chairman of the Management Committees of the Americas and Europe, as well as the executive vice president of purchasing.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.