Published: Wed, November 21, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

Carlos Ghosn To Continue As Renault Chairman Despite Corruption Allegations

Carlos Ghosn To Continue As Renault Chairman Despite Corruption Allegations

As it turns out, there may be more to this story and Nissan may have had more serious reasons to take Ghosn down.

French automobile group Renault chose to appoint two interim heads of the company to replace Carlos Ghosn, who remains as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer but is "temporarily incapacitated", the company announced in a statement.

In a sign that Nissan may now seek to loosen its French parent's hold on their decades-old alliance, the Japanese company informed Renault it also had evidence of potential wrongdoing at Renault-Nissan BV, the Dutch venture overseeing alliance operations under Renault's ultimate control, sources told Reuters.

In a letter sent to Renault employees on Monday, Bollore expressed full support for Ghosn and pledged to preserve the alliance. Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko said Tuesday that he did not think "there is anyone else on Earth like Ghosn who could run Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi".

Renault is opting to wait for the Japanese investigation, allowing Ghosn to keep his job as CEO and position as board chairman. Mitsubishi said Monday it would move to replace Ghosn as chairman of that company, although it's unclear when that may happen. "What he did was unprecedented in Japanese corporate history".

He had a reputation as a workaholic, and won the nickname "Le Cost Cutter" in France for his slash-and-burn approach to corporate restructuring.

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Why would a merger with Renault be bad for Nissan, though? Media reports also spoke of a lavish Marie Antoinette-themed party in 2016 for Ghosn's second wedding, at the grandiose palace of Versailles.

Renault's move to appoint a temporary leader was in line with a demand by the French government, which owns a 15 percent stake in the automaker.

Nissan has accused Ghosn of under-reporting his salary over a period of several years and "numerous significant acts of misconduct". Mitsubishi Motors is expected to decide next week whether to force Ghosn out.

Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, said that Ghosn was "a victim of his own hubris and success".

Even when his reputation was sky-high, he attracted criticism for a flashy lifestyle at odds with traditional Japanese corporate culture and over his salary - an estimated €13 million in total a year ago.

"I hope our future isn't at risk".

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