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Nissan to cut jobs, Ghosn on the offensive

Nissan to cut 10,000 jobs globally

Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa is struggling to turn the company around after the fallout with previous CEO Carlos Ghosn
Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa is struggling to turn the company around after the fallout with previous CEO Carlos Ghosn Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo/Reuters

Japanese automaker Nissan plans to cut more than 10,000 jobs to help turn around its business. The company’s profits have fallen to a near-decade low, and its alliance with French automaker Renault has been under strain since the ouster and arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn.

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Details of the job cuts will be announced along with first quarter earnings results on Thursday. They will be mostly at underused factories in South America, and come on the heels of the 4,800 job cuts announced in May. The current workforce is around 139,000 people.

In May, Nissan forecast a 28 drop in its annual operating profit, after a 45 per cent drop the previous year, and it warned of "a difficult business environment" for the next 12 months.

The company has seen a drop in sales in the United States, where Ghosn had pushed to aggressively grow market share for years, when he was CEO.

Current chief executive Hiroto Saikawa has to address strained relations Renault, which owns 43 per cent of Nissan. Though France has said it is willing to cut its stake in Renault, to improve the relationship.

Saikawa kept his job in a vote at an annual shareholders meeting in June, though he had to fight off advisory firms urging shareholders not to reappoint him considering he was groomed for leadership by Ghosn.

Ghosn on the offensive

The former CEO is currently under house arrest in Tokyo, and is reportedly suing Nissan in a Dutch court for "improper termination" of his contract.

Ghosn is accusing the company of breaching his contract as an employee of NMBV, their joint subsidiary based in the Netherlands, and seeking up to 15 million euros in damages.

He is awaiting trial in Japan on charges of financial misconduct, and was held in jail for over 100 days before being granted bail and fired from all his management roles.

Ghosn is accused of under-reporting millions of dollars in income at Nissan and of using company funds for personal expenses. He denies all charges.

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