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Nissan to cancel Ghosn's retirement, stock-linked compensation

Tokyo

NISSAN Motor Co is cancelling yet-to-be-paid compensation benefits for Carlos Ghosn, in the latest steps taken by the Japanese carmaker to distance itself from its former chairman.

Ghosn, who was arrested in November on charges of financial misconduct, will no longer receive unpaid retirement benefits of 4.44 billion yen (S$55.8 million), Nissan disclosed in a stock filing on Thursday. A 2.27 billion yen share-price-linked plan, called stock appreciation rights, is also being cancelled, Nissan said.

Compensation is a key issue in the allegations against Ghosn, whose arrest destabilised the car alliance that he created between Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Ghosn has denied all charges against him, including arguing that he acted appropriately by not including deferred compensation in regulatory filings.

Ghosn's total compensation reached 1.65 billion yen in the latest fiscal year, which ended in March, including 410 million yen actually paid and 1.24 billion yen to be deferred until his retirement, according to Nissan's filing.

Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan's chief executive officer, received 404 million yen in compensation after he took a pay cut over inspection issues at the company's plants in Japan and the Ghosn scandal. The CEO has said that he will return half of his compensation in the April-June period, while a newly established renumeration committee will decide his compensation for the rest of the current fiscal year.

This week, Nissan shareholders approved creating three board committees: nomination, audit and compensation. The governance structure is designed to boost oversight and prevent the concentration of corporate power in one individual, seeking to address the lapses that led to Ghosn's arrest. BLOOMBERG