Nissan executive Jose Munoz resigns amid broadened Ghosn probe

FILE PHOTO: Jose Munoz, Chairman of Nissan North America, speaks during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

(Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co Ltd’s (7201.T) Chief Performance Officer Jose Munoz has resigned, a company spokesman said on Friday in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Munoz’s resignation follows a Reuters report which said that the Japanese automaker was looking into decisions made in the United States by Munoz as it broadened its investigation into the alleged financial misconduct by ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Munoz, who is widely seen within the industry as close to Ghosn, was a “person of interest” in the probe and it was not clear whether he would be accused of any wrongdoing, one of the three people with knowledge of the inquiry said.

“I am proud to have played a role in achieving 74 percent growth in North America, gaining market dominance in Mexico, getting China market share on the growth path, and helping the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance become the highest volume group in the world,” Munoz said on a post in LinkedIn.

“I look forward to continuing to assist Nissan in its investigations.”

Munoz, 53, who has been with Nissan for 15 years, joined the company from Toyota in 2004 and served in his latest role since Nov. 2016. He also headed Nissan’s China operations.

China is Nissan’s second-largest market, accounting for roughly one-quarter of its annual global vehicle sales. It sold 1.5 million vehicles in China last year, and earlier this year said it planned to boost sales to 2.6 million units by 2022, making China its biggest market in terms of vehicle sales.

Nissan said this month that Munoz was on leave “to allow him to assist the company by concentrating on special tasks arising from recent events.”

Reporting by Mary Ann Alapatt in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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