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Nissan’s U.S. Chief is Latest Exec to Quit Troubled Auto Maker

The Nissan executive whose contract reportedly bars him from joining the competition until the end of 2021 is leaving as the Japanese car maker struggles to right itself after years of underperformance.

Vice Chairman Mark Perry will resign on July 1 to join a small Asian car maker, he told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Perry said he’s leaving to work on a new investment opportunity.

His resignation is the latest in a series of high-level departures at Nissan since it admitted last month that it had manipulated pollution-control data and to play down quality issues for years, resulting in potentially millions of defective vehicles.

The U.S. chief executive of Nissan North America, Reid Bigland, announced in February that he’d be leaving the company for an unspecified role at General Motors Co. Bigland was one of the most high-profile executives forced out after its emissions-cheating scandal broke.

Perry’s immediate boss at Nissan, Hiroto Saikawa, has blamed “misunderstandings” and a lack of oversight for the cheating.

Amid questions over his own role in the scandal, he has tried to redirect the company’s focus on electric vehicles and autonomous driving.

Casting a cloud over its image, Nissan is reviewing whether about $40 million in bonuses for senior executives were at risk because they helped cover up the misconduct.

The company in April postponed its results for the year ending March 31 due to a third-quarter slump in profits.

Citing disclosure issues, the company didn’t say how many of its cars contain potentially defective parts, but Nissan is trying to address the problem through quality control.

It’s now unlikely that Perry will accept Nissan’s current offer of permanent employment once he leaves, according to the Journal.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Nissan will replace Perry.

Nissan Japan general manager Kaoru Okada and two executives at its Alliance Cities unit have already been put on administrative leave after Nissan’s Tokyo headquarters opened a probe on their roles in the cheating scandal.

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