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Nissan boosts management presence at Mitsubishi Motors


´╗┐Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211. T) on Tuesday said an additional four Nissan (7201. T) executives would join its management team as Nissan tightens its control over the smaller, struggling automaker in which it took a controlling stake last year. The announcement is part of Mitsubishi Motor's efforts to rebuild its management system after it admitted last year that it had overstated the mileage on a number of its cars sold in Japan, battering domestic sales and tarnishing its brand image. From April, corporate vice president positions for roles including product development and marketing and sales would be occupied by officials from Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors said. This would hike the number of Nissan executives on Mitsubishi Motors' management team to seven, from two now.

"We need to strengthen our corporate governance to avoid a repeat of last year's scandal, along with scandals previous to that," Mitsubishi Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Osamu Masuko told reporters during a teleconference. After taking a one-third stake in Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan installed Carlos Ghosn - its CEO at the time - as chairman of Mitsubishi Motors, while also naming two Nissan officials to Mitsubishi's board of directors. Nissan also dispatched other executives to the smaller automaker, including Trevor Mann, previously Nissan's chief performance officer who became chief operating officer at Mitsubishi late last year.

Last month, Ghosn said he would step down from the top position at Nissan to focus on deepening the company's alliance with Renault SA (RENA. PA) and Mitsubishi Motors. Separately, Nissan said Shiro Nakamura, the company's chief creative officer and one of Japan's best-known car designers, will retire after nearly 20 years at the automaker.

Nakamura, 66, is recognized for referencing science fiction anime and embracing Japan's culture of "cute" in models including the GT-R supercar, the Cube compact MPV and the Juke SUV crossover, setting the automaker apart from many of its rivals which have been accused of making lookalike cars. Nakamura joined Nissan in 1999 from Japanese truckmaker Isuzu Motors

U.S. judge orders Volkswagen executive held until trial in emissions case


´╗┐A federal judge in Detroit on Thursday ordered that a Volkswagen AG executive charged in the automaker's diesel emissions scandal be detained until his trial set for next year, agreeing with prosecutors that the German national represented a flight risk. Oliver Schmidt, who was chief of Volkswagen's (VOWG_p. DE) environmental and engineering center in Michigan, has been held since January when he was arrested in Miami trying to return to Germany. Schmidt is one of seven current and former executives charged in the U.S. emissions probe..

"The allegations of fraud and conspiracy in this case are very, very serious," said Judge Sean Cox of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan. "There is a serious risk that Mr. Schmidt will not appear in this case." The ruling came despite pleas from family and friends, including Schmidt's parents, who offered a combined $1.6 million in assets such as property and cash to pay his bail.

Defense attorney David DuMouchel said Schmidt had been open about his travel plans to the United States prior to his arrest, despite knowing he could be charged.

But an assistant U.S. attorney, John Neal, told the court that Schmidt has few ties to the United States and would face stiffer penalties if tried here instead of in Germany.