Published: Wed, November 21, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Renault keeps Carlos Ghosn as CEO despite arrest in Japan

Renault keeps Carlos Ghosn as CEO despite arrest in Japan

Mr Ghosn, who is chairman of Nissan as well as Renault and Mitsubishi, was accused of underreporting his income in a Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report.

"Mr. Ghosn, temporarily incapacitated, remains Chairman and Chief Executive Officer", the French automaker's board announced late yesterday. Ghosn's position as board chair for Renault will be temporarily occupied by the lead independent director, Phillipe Lagayette.

Mr Bollore, 55, a soft-spoken French national from Brittany, joined Renault in 2012 from car-parts supplier Faurecia SA, where he rose through the ranks to become vice president with responsibilities for global industry, quality and packaging.

According to a new report from the Financial Times, Nissan's board opposed Ghosn's plan to merge Nissan and Renault-a plan that was set to materialize within months, according to the paper's sources.

The allegations of misconduct relate to Ghosn's role as chairman of Nissan, which Renault now owns a 43.4 per cent stake in.

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Japanese authorities have extended the detention of Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn by 10 days, according to local media reports. However, the full scope of potential allegations is unclear.

Monday's arrest of the millionaire auto tycoon, who is credited with having turned Nissan around and formed the three-way alliance with Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., sent shock waves through the global vehicle sector and corporate Japan.

The debate at the top of Nissan adds another layer of complexity to a saga that's rippling through the powerful alliance. First, how will Renault come through the inevitable bloodbath? The two companies already hold shares in one another-Renault owns 43% of Nissan and Nissan owns 15% of Renault, so the French firm has the upper hand.

In a letter sent to Renault employees on Monday, Bollore expressed full support for Ghosn and pledged to preserve the alliance. Nissan has become the alliance's key player however, posting sales of 12 trillion yen ($106 billion) past year compared with Renault's 59 billion euros ($67 billion). 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".

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