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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Third Ghosn deputy plans exit from Nissan

Top sales executive Schillaci likely out by June

Daniele Schillaci, Nissan Motor's executive vice president of global sales, unveils the new model of the Leaf electric car in January.

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor's sales chief will leave his post soon, the Nikkei has learned, in the third exit this year by a senior executive close to ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president of global marketing and sales, reportedly has informed Nissan's higher-ups of his desire to resign. The timing remains under consideration, but he is not expected to be part of the new leadership team submitted for approval at the Japanese automaker's shareholders meeting in June.

Schillaci's decision follows the departures of Chief Performance Officer Jose Munoz in January and Arun Bajaj, the senior vice president in charge of human resources, in March.

All three were executives associated with Ghosn, who was arrested in November on charges related to the underreporting of his compensation. Former Nissan representative director Greg Kelly, Ghosn's right-hand man, was indicted on allegations of financial misconduct. Ghosn and Kelly were stripped of their titles in November and removed from Nissan's board this month.

Schillaci, 54, was recruited by Ghosn in 2015 as an executive vice president in charge of devising Nissan's global strategy. He is well known in the industry, appearing at major auto shows to lay out that strategy.

In 2017, Schillaci was promoted to executive vice president overseeing Japan, Asia and Oceania. He was deeply involved in drafting the midterm plan released last April for Nissan's domestic business, which revolves around the Leaf electric car.

Prior to Nissan, Schillaci began working for Renault in the early 1990s before a brief stint at Fiat in 2001. Schillaci moved to Toyota Motor's European arm the next year, where he was eventually promoted to president of the French unit. He later became senior vice president of sales at Toyota Motor Europe.

Under President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan is reshaping itself to leave Ghosn's tarnished legacy behind. The automaker, for example, is transitioning to a focus on quality instead of scale. But the transformation has created additional burdens for executives, and the company has yet to resolve the internal discord. The departure of an experienced executive like Schillaci likely will impact Nissan's personnel strategy.

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