The Japan News/Asia News Network
Within Nissan Motor Co., former Representative Director Greg Kelly had a high position but a low profile, with few people clearly aware of what he was doing. The closest aide to former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, and arrested on the same day as him, Kelly was released on bail Tuesday.
The carmaker has directed all of its employees not to contact Ghosn or Kelly, aiming to eliminate the suspects’ influence on the company.
Nissan sent an email titled “To all of our employees” dated Monday to all its employees around the globe, banning them from contact with Ghosn, Kelly and those close to them because the two were indicted on charges of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law. They are also the subjects of an in-house investigation by Nissan in relation to alleged private use of company funds and other misconduct in the past.
Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa told the media on Tuesday that the company sent the email in an effort “not to upset our employees.”
At an extraordinary board meeting in late November, Kelly was dismissed as a representative along with Ghosn. Nissan plans to propose at the next shareholders meeting that the two be removed as board members.
“We won’t change our attitude even if [Kelly] was released on bail,” a Nissan executive said Tuesday.
Within Nissan, however, there is concern that Kelly, as Ghosn’s right-hand man, would exercise influence over Nissan through France’s Renault SA, Nissan’s largest shareholder, in line with Ghosn’s wishes. Ghosn remains chairman and chief executive officer of Renault, where some executives are said to still support him. Kelly has denied the charges against him, and he may criticize Nissan’s decision to dismiss him and Ghosn from their posts.
Known for loyalty
Lawyer Kelly joined Nissan North America Inc. in 1988, rising to be a person in charge of the legal and human resources departments. He moved to Nissan Motor Co. in 2008 as a corporate officer, and from that point he seemed to have been in contact with Ghosn more often.
Picked by Ghosn, who was then Nissan president, to be representative director in 2012, Kelly flourished as Ghosn’s right-hand man.
According to Nissan’s senior officers, Ghosn appreciated Kelly for his advice and constant loyal service.
A source close to Nissan said that Kelly had come to Japan very infrequently recently, participating in board meetings often via videoconference.