Renault-Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn to Be Sacked; Industry Titan Faces Arrest in Japan

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Carlos Ghosn, the globe-straddling executive behind the Renault-Nissan Alliance and the resurrection of Mitsubishi Motors, has reportedly been arrested in Japan following a whistleblower-prompted investigation into financial irregularities.

In a statement, Nissan said Ghosn and board director Greg Kelly allegedly violated Japanese financial laws by under-reporting compensation levels for years, all part of an apparent plot to hide Ghosn’s actual level of compensation. The automaker will move to remove Ghosn, thus ending a long and successful era of governance.

Nissan’s statement follows:

Based on a whistleblower report, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (Nissan) has been conducting an internal investigation over the past several months regarding misconduct involving the company’s Representative Director and Chairman Carlos Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly.

The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn’s compensation.

Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly’s deep involvement has also been confirmed.

Nissan has been providing information to the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office and has been fully cooperating with their investigation. We will continue to do so.

As the misconduct uncovered through our internal investigation constitutes clear violations of the duty of care as directors, Nissan’s Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa will propose to the Nissan Board of Directors to promptly remove Ghosn from his positions as Chairman and Representative Director. Saikawa will also propose the removal of Greg Kelly from his position as Representative Director.

Nissan deeply apologizes for causing great concern to our shareholders and stakeholders. We will continue our work to identify our governance and compliance issues, and to take appropriate measures.

Nissan claimed it will update the media at 9 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time. Ghosn, 64, was reported arrested by Japanese media, though whether this has actually happened remains unclear. According to Reuters, citing Japan’s Asahi newspaper, prosecutors have beguin searching Nissan’s corporate headquarters.

A shrewd and determined executive, Ghosn was instrumental in bringing together Renault and Nissan in 1999, serving as chairman and CEO of both automakers and taking on the chairman role at Mitsubishi after that company joined the alliance two years ago. He has since relinquished his role as Nissan CEO.

During his tenure, aggressive streamlining and platform and technology sharing propelled the alliance members to new heights, both in terms of sales and profits. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi was the world’s largest automaker in the first half of 2018, beating Volkswagen Group. In the wake of the revelations, Renault shares fell 13 percent in Paris as Nissan securities fell 11 percent in Germany, pointing to the importance of Ghosn’s grip on the two companies.

Ghosn’s Renault pay package amounted to a shareholder-approved 7.4 million euro last fiscal year ($8.46 million), with Nissan and Mitsubishi chipping in $6.52 million and $2.01 million, respectively.

[Source: CNBC] [Image: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Nov 20, 2018

    Within the past year or so, Mark Fields was running Ford, Sergio Marchionne was in charge of Fiat, Chrysler and Ferrari, and Ghosn was running the biggest automotive conglomerate in the world. How the mighty have fallen.

  • Ol Shel Ol Shel on Nov 20, 2018

    Poor people might hoard newspapers or cats. We pity them. The rich, with the same exact mental illness, hoard money. No amount is enough to soothe them, and they'll do anything to get more, in hopes that the pain and longing will go away. Ghosn had more money than he could ever use. All of his basic needs were met, a thousand times over. He didn't steal (avoid taxes) because he's evil; he did it because letting go of money feels like a direct danger to him. It's a sickness, and I hope he gets the treatment he needs while in prison.

  • Pau65792686 I think there is a need for more sedans. Some people would rather drive a car over SUV’s or CUV’s. If Honda and Toyota can do it why not American brands. We need more affordable sedans.
  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.
  • Joe65688619 I agree there should be more sedans, but recognize the trend. There's still a market for performance oriented-drivers. IMHO a low budget sedan will always be outsold by a low budget SUV. But a sports sedan, or a well executed mid-level sedan (the Accord and Camry) work. Smaller market for large sedans except I think for an older population. What I'm hoping to see is some consolidation across brands - the TLX for example is not selling well, but if it was offered only in the up-level configurations it would not be competing with it's Honda sibling. I know that makes the market smaller and niche, but that was the original purpose of the "luxury" brands - badge-engineering an existing platform at a relatively lower cost than a different car and sell it with a higher margin for buyers willing and able to pay for them. Also creates some "brand cachet." But smart buyers know that simple badging and slightly better interiors are usually not worth the cost. Put the innovative tech in the higher-end brands first, differentiate they drivetrain so it's "better" (the RDX sells well for Acura, same motor and tranmission, added turbo which makes a notable difference compared to the CRV). The sedan in many Western European countries is the "family car" as opposed to micro and compact crossovers (which still sell big, but can usually seat no more than a compact sedan).
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