France Wants To Remove Carlos Ghosn As Renault Head After His Misconduct

  • France Wants To Remove Carlos Ghosn As Renault Head After His Misconduct

France Wants To Remove Carlos Ghosn As Renault Head After His Misconduct

The Renault board will meet today to discuss a potential replacement for Ghosn as chief executive. Philippe Lagayette will remain the lead independent director.

While Ghosn is, shall we say, indisposed, the board of Renault named his second-in-command, Thierry Bollore as deputy CEO.

Reports from Japan indicate Carlos Ghosn, current chairman of Nissan and its former CEO, was arrested on-board his private jet.

Nissan released a statement Monday that said an internal investigation revealed that Ghosn, along American board member Greg Kelly, under-reported Ghosn's income-reportedly up to $44 million-with the Tokyo Stock Exchange. "At this stage, the board is unable to comment on the evidence seemingly gathered against Mr Ghosn by Nissan and the Japanese judicial authorities", the board said in the statement. Carlos Ghosn, the Brazilian-born chairman of Nissan, credited with reviving its fortunes over the past two decades, was detained on allegations of under-reporting his own income and misusing company assets.

Ghosn has also served as chairman of automakers Renault, Mitsubishi, and Nissan separately, CEO of Renault, and chairman and CEO of an alliance among the three, although his roles at all may be in doubt after this week. However, the full scope of potential allegations is unclear.

France Wants To Remove Carlos Ghosn As Renault Head After His Misconduct

Set to leave Renault in 2022, Ghosn had been laying the groundwork to ensure a future for the alliance, including the option of a merger.

But Nissan CEO Saikawa has publicly played down that prospect, and had harsh words for Ghosn, his one-time mentor, at a press conference late on Monday.

Under government pressure, Ghosn, who is also Renault chairman and CEO, had agreed this year to explore a closer tie-up that would tap deeper synergies, safeguard French industrial interests and make the alliance "irreversible". On Tuesday, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info radio that "we will not demand he be removed" from the company because "we have no proof". Nissan, while nearly 60% bigger than Renault by sales, remains the junior partner in their shareholding hierarchy with a smaller reciprocal 15% non-voting stake in Renault.

While both Le Maire and his Japanese counterpart, Hiroshige Seko, reaffirmed their support for the alliance, the structure of the partnership between the two companies has been increasingly controversial in Japan as Nissan outgrows Renault in sales and profits.