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Nissan HR exec exits as Ghosn power structure is dismantled

Tokyo

A SENIOR Nissan Motor Co human resources executive left the carmaker as part of a wider senior management shuffle, as the company revamps its leadership following the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn in November.

Arun Bajaj exited the company on March 11 after a leave of absence, the Yokohama, Japan-based carmaker said in a statement on Wednesday. Mr Bajaj was senior vice-president for human resources for Nissan's alliance with Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Separately, SVP Jose Luis Valls will take on the additional responsibility of president of Nissan North America, the company added.

The shuffling of key executives underscores the unwinding of a power structure built up during almost two decades by Ghosn, who is accused of falsifying financial records and breach of trust by Japanese prosecutors. That culminated in the formation this week of a new governance board for the alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi. At the same time, Nissan needs to reboot growth in the US and China and stake out a strategy for growth in electric vehicles.

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Mr Bajaj's departure follows the January exit of former chief performance officer Jose Munoz, a close confidant of Ghosn. Roland Krueger, former president of Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti, also left in January to join Dyson Ltd's automotive unit, which plans to sell an electric vehicle by 2021. Infiniti promoted sales and marketing chief Christian Meunier to succeed Mr Krueger.

Some of the exits may impact Nissan's ability to compete in electric cars, with some executives quitting to join aspiring startups in China. Kazuo Yajima, a former alliance director for EVs who helped engineer the Leaf, left the company last year for Qoros Auto Co as CEO last month. BLOOMBERG