Renault keeps Ghosn as chief executive and chairman
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Carlos Ghosn denies allegations of misconduct over pay at Nissan
26 November 2018, 04:09 | Kelvin Horton
Carlos Ghosn Credit Marlene Awaad Bloomberg
The board of Nissan decided unanimously on Thursday to oust Ghosn as chairman, a spectacular fall from grace for the dynamic businessman credited with turning around the firm's once-flagging fortunes by tying its fate to Renault.
Renault and Nissan will meet to ward off the potential of a power struggle within their alliance, following last week's sensational arrest of chairman and CEO, Carlos Ghosn.
A small team involving Nissan's board members carried out its internal probe confidentially on concerns about possible destruction of evidence by Ghosn, Japan's Kyodo News reported, quoting unnamed sources. The other representative director is CEO Osamu Masuko, who said last week the alliance may be hard to manage without Ghosn. It said Ghosn had lost the trust of Nissan and would find it hard to continue to act as chairman.
Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa spoke to staff on Monday to address the issue. "I was honestly, absolutely shocked and struck with a sense of disbelief" after hearing the allegations against Ghosn, he said.
Prosecutors say Ghosn underreported his income by $44m (£34m) over five years.
Top executives of the three companies plan to hold a meeting this week, their first gathering since his arrest, local media said.
But the future of the tie-up is now uncertain as the talismanic Ghosn was seen as the glue binding together a fractious Franco-Japanese alliance with headquarters 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) apart. Renault, which has not sacked Ghosn, owns 43% of Nissan and the Japanese carmaker holds a 15% non-voting stake in the French firm.
Nissan is nearly 60% bigger than Renault by sales but remains the junior partner in the shareholding structure. The broadcaster cited people familiar with the matter. Leroy declined to comment.
Ghosn is being held custody in a Tokyo detention centre.
"The guy who knows everyone, and knew how to play this complicated piano with both hands and both feet is not only no longer there, he's become the declared enemy of one of the big components of the operation", said Kenneth Courtis, chairman of Starfort Investment Holdings, an investment, private equity and commodity group.
Nearly a week after his arrest at a Tokyo airport, Carlos Ghosn remains in detention in Japan as the impact of the auto czar's stunning downfall ignites a power struggle within the world's biggest vehicle alliance that he built.
Calling the alliance "indispensable", Le Maire said Sunday he wants to strengthen it while maintaining the rules that require Renault's chairman to serve in the same role at the head of the alliance.
According to Japanese corporate law, Renault's voting rights could be canceled if Nissan raises its shareholding to more than 25% in the French carmaker. The French partner has the power to appoint the chairman, while the vice chairman comes from the ranks of the Japanese manufacturer. Only the headline has been changed.
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