TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa acknowledged Monday that he is working to pass over the helm at the Japanese automaker to the next generation, indicating he was ready to step down.
Calls for resignation, which arose after the arrest last year of his predecessor Carlos Ghosn on various financial misconduct allegations, have grown louder after Saikawa acknowledged last week that he had received dubious payments.
The income was linked to the stock price of Nissan Motor Co., and he has said his pay got inflated by illicitly adjusting the date for cashing in.
The automaker’s board is meeting Monday to look into the allegations against Saikawa.
Ghosn, who is out on bail and awaiting trial, says he’s innocent.
Saikawa has not been charged. Nissan had no comment on Saikawa’s possible resignation.
“I have been trying to do what needs to be done so that I can pass the baton over as soon as possible,” he told reporters, referring to his willingness to leave his job.
Saikawa has said he didn’t know about the improprieties, promised to return the money and blamed the system he said Ghosn had created at Nissan for the dubious payments.
Japanese media reports said Saikawa had received tens of millions of yen (hundreds of thousands of dollars) in extra compensation.
Ghosn has been charged with falsifying documents on deferred compensation, which means he did not receive any of the money.
Nissan’s profits and sales have tumbled over the past year. Investors are also worried about Nissan’s relationship with alliance partner Renault SA of France, which owns 43% of Nissan. Ghosn was sent in by Renault to lead Nissan two decades ago.