Carlos Ghosn fired as Nissan chairman following arrest

Carlos Ghosn. Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images
  • Carlos Ghosn has been removed as chairman of Nissan.
  • The executive was arrested in Tokyo on Monday and faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of financial misconduct.
  • Ghosn is an auto-industry titan who headed up the major carmaking alliance consisting of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Motors.

The auto executive Carlos Ghosn has been ousted from his chairmanship at the Japanese automaker Nissan following a lengthy board meeting in Tokyo, according to reports from NHK.

The Brazil-born Ghosn was arrested Monday following allegations of financial misconduct linked to the underreporting of his salary. The French national, 64, headed up the major carmaking alliance consisting of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Motors, but his arrest has sent shockwaves through markets and forced major changes upon the businesses.

Greg Kelly, an American Nissan executive, has also been removed over his role in the scandal, according to Nikkei.

Ghosn remains CEO and chairman of the French car giant Renault after a board meeting Tuesday decided to retain the executive while promoting Thierry Bolloré to deputy CEO with the same powers.

Prosecutors in Japan allege that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chairman and CEO earned a salary of about 10 billion yen, or $US88.7 million, from 2011 to 2015 but reported only half of that. Ghosn could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million yen if found to have committed any wrongdoing.

The executive is also accused of failing to report cash bonuses totaling about 4 billion yen ($US35.6 million), according to Asahi Shimbun. Japanese prosecutors are also looking into the possibility of investigating Nissan over its failures to uncover the underreporting over the period.

Nissan has also accused Ghosn of misusing company funds, reportedly through purchasing houses in global cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Paris. Ghosn is a titan of the auto world, known as “Le Cost Killer” in France for taking a strong approach to turning around struggling businesses.

Renault and Nissan have had a strategic partnership since 1999 that later included Mitsubishi, with Ghosn, 64, acting as chairman of all three companies while also serving as CEO at Renault. It is a carmaking powerhouse: The alliance sold more than 10.6 million cars in 2017, which would be the most of any single automaker in the world.