Renault keeps Carlos Ghosn as CEO despite arrest in Japan

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 21, 2018

Nissan's investigation into alleged misconduct by Chairman Carlos Ghosn is expanding to include Renault-Nissan finances, sources told Reuters - in a further sign that Nissan may seek to loosen its French parent's hold on their global carmaking alliance.

After a meeting, the board said it appointed the company's No. 2 executive, Thierry Bolloré, to serve as deputy CEO on a temporary basis and Philippe Lagayette, Renault's lead independent director, to act as interim chairman.

Renault's directors asked Nissan on "principles of transparency, trust and mutual respect set forth in the Alliance Charter" to provide "all information in their possession arising from the internal investigations related to Mr. Ghosn". He started his career at tiremaker Michelin, working there for a number of years at the same time as Ghosn, who has called him a "good candidate" to become Renault CEO.

The Nissan board is expected to remove Ghosn as chairman Thursday.

Japanese authorities have extended the detention of Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn by 10 days, according to local media reports.

Nissan Motor Co has portrayed itself as a victim of Ghosn, one of the global auto industry's best-known leaders, who it accused of years of wrongdoing, including personal use of company money and under-reporting earnings.

Later prosecutors said in a statement that Mr Ghosn and senior executive Greg Kelly had conspired to understate Mr Ghosn's compensation, starting in 2010.

Through complex cross-shareholding arrangements, Renault owns 43 percent in Nissan, including voting rights, while Nissan owns a 15 percent non-voting stake in Renault.

In a letter sent to Renault employees on Monday, Mr Bollore expressed full support for Ghosn and pledged to preserve the alliance.

This goes against the decisions that the other two member-companies of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance made to have him ousted and could cause serious problems down the road if the three companies don't come to an agreement.

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