Nissan Executive Hitoshi Kawaguchi Leaves Company

Nissan Motor Co. said Hitoshi Kawaguchi, a senior executive in charge of communications and government affairs, was leaving prior to the arrival of a new chief executive on Dec. 1.

On Friday, Nissan’s board conveined and agreed that Mr. Uchida and new chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta would start their jobs Dec. 1 (a month earlier than expected).

Nissan directors blamed Mr. Kawaguchi, in his role leading communications, for not stopping leaks to the Japanese press in recent months, according to people familiar with the board’s thinking.

“We said that this is destroying the company,” this person said. “We want to have much better control and communication, and the guy in charge of communication was Kawaguchi.”

In another Nissan personnel change Hari Nada lost her responsibilities previously in charge of legal affirs. Mr. Nada, who remains at Nissan, was one of the executives who secretly cooperated with Japanese prosecutors ahead of Mr. Ghosn’s arrest last November. Mr. Ghosn, who faces charges of financial wrongdoing, has said he is innocent.

Nissan said Hiroshi Karube, the chief financial officer, would retire and be replaced by Stephen Ma, who previously worked under Mr. Uchida, the new CEO, when both were at Nissan affiliate Dongfeng Motor Co. in China.

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