Business World

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Nissan votes out Ghosn after arrest despite Renault delay call

Accused: Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan on Monday
Accused: Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan on Monday

Sam Nussey, Maki Shiraki, and Laurence Frost

Nissan's board voted unanimously to oust chairman Carlos Ghosn yesterday after the shock arrest of the industry heavyweight, ushering in a period of uncertainty for its 19-year alliance with Renault.

The Japanese firm said its board also voted to remove Greg Kelly - who, like Mr Ghosn, has been arrested after allegations of financial misconduct - from his post as representative director.

The moves, which leaves the chairman position vacant, came despite Renault urging Nissan's board before its meeting to delay removing Mr Ghosn, sources close to the matter told Reuters.

The Franco-Japanese alliance, enlarged in 2016 to include Japan's Mitsubishi Motors, has been rattled to its core by the arrest of the 64-year-old Mr Ghosn in Japan on Monday.

He had shaped the alliance and was pushing for a deeper tie-up, including potentially a full Renault-Nissan merger at the French government's urging, despite strong reservations at the Japanese firm.

Japanese prosecutors said Mr Ghosn and Mr Kelly conspired to understate Mr Ghosn's compensation at Nissan over five years from 2010, saying it was about half the actual 10 billion yen (€77m).

Shin Kukimoto, deputy public prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, said on Thursday that court approval was received a day earlier to detain Mr Ghosn for 10 days but he could not comment on whether he had admitted to the allegations.

Nissan executives have five seats on the nine-member board, Renault loyalists have two seats and the remaining two are held by unaffiliated outside directors, a former bureaucrat and a race driver.

With Mr Ghosn and Mr Kelly still in detention, neither of the men were able to vote or defend themselves at the meeting.

Renault has refrained from firing Mr Ghosn as chairman and CEO.

Reuters

Irish Independent

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