YOKOHAMA, Japan — The ink is still wet on his contract as CEO of Nissan Motor Co. But last week Makoto Uchida faced furious investors for the first time in a trial-by-fire shareholders' meeting that exposed discord over everything from the carmaker's plunging share price and canceled dividend to its slow-going revival.
The gathering was supposed to be mainly a bureaucratic one to handle the administrative task of appointing the newly minted CEO and other executives to the company's board.
But Uchida, who took office Dec. 1 and presided over the 2½-hour showdown, got an earful during a raucous question-and-answer period punctuated by angry shouts.
The 666 shareholders in attendance — largely older Japanese mom-and-pop investors — took Nissan to task for plunging sales, profits and stock prices.
They also sparred over Nissan's handling of indicted former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who jumped bail in Japan and fled to his ancestral homeland of Lebanon in December.
One investor proposed funding a ¥1.5 billion ($13.8 million) bounty to bring Ghosn back to face justice in Tokyo, where Ghosn had been awaiting trial on four charges of financial misconduct. Ghosn denies any wrongdoing, but his ouster triggered a year of disruption at Nissan.