Daily Management Review

Nissan Looks Into Complaints CEO Put The Deputy Under Observation


Nissan Looks Into Complaints CEO Put The Deputy Under Observation
According to four persons with firsthand knowledge of the situation, Nissan has opened an investigation into charges made by a top adviser that Chief Executive Makoto Uchida secretly watched his deputy Ashwani Gupta.
In a letter dated April 19 to the independent directors on the board of the Japanese manufacturer, Hari Nada, 58, a senior consultant at Nissan, made the monitoring charges, which were originally published by the Financial Times.
The letter's specifics have been made public for the first time by Reuters after it was analysed. They have to do with the allegations of spying, a sharp rift in senior management regarding Nissan's partnership with Renault, and worries about intellectual property transfers to the French automaker.
In the letter, Nada claimed that Uchida had conducted extensive monitoring. According to Nada, the action was made in an effort to gain power so that the executive and board member who the chief executive of Nissan saw as a barrier to forging a new agreement with alliance partner Renault might be removed.
According to Nada's letter and the four people with knowledge of the situation, Gupta, who was named chief operating officer in 2019, had concerns about the provisions of the amended deal Uchida is trying to finish with Renault.
Nissan responded to Reuters' questions about the spying inquiry by saying, "Independent third parties have been retained to verify the facts and carry out appropriate actions."
Who was doing the probe for Nissan was unknown to Reuters. One person with firsthand knowledge of the situation claimed that it began in late May.
In the letter, Nada didn't explain how he learned of the suspected surveillance of Gupta. Reuters was unable to independently verify whether any surveillance was conducted.
According to Akira Takeuchi, a lawyer and certified fraud examiner in Tokyo, a corporation is permitted by Japanese law to monitor communications made on company phones and computers and look into an employee's behaviour away from the office in order to safeguard its commercial interests.
"In other cases, actions outside the company could be considered private and investigation there could be viewed as excessive," he said, emphasising that he was speaking in general and not about Nissan.
Reuters contacted Gupta and Nada, but neither responded with a statement. Uchida, the members of its board of directors, and the other recipients of Nada's letter were not made available for comment by Nissan.
Other awardees were Nissan's worldwide general counsel, chief intellectual property officer, and chief human resources officer.
Gupta, 52, who had been widely considered as a frontrunner to become chief executive, was informed by Nissan on May 12 that he would not be reappointed to the board when his tenure ended.
Gupta made the decision to quit Nissan on June 27, the day of the automaker's annual shareholder meeting, to seek other possibilities, Nissan revealed last week.
In the letter, Nada claimed that during the week of April 10, Nissan evaluated the claims made against Gupta's conduct and that Gupta had been asked to quit. He stated that he had been informed that the claims against Gupta had being looked into by the Japanese legal firm Anderson Mori & Tomotsune.
According to three sources with firsthand knowledge of the situation, Gupta was the target of an inquiry into a complaint of harassment made by a female employee. According to one source, the complaint was made in March, and the probe was still ongoing when Gupta's resignation was made public.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the specifics of the harassment allegation or any of the investigation's conclusions.
Tomotsune and Anderson Mori declined to comment.