By on December 12, 2018

Carlos Ghosn - Titan intro - Image: Nissan

Nissan’s board didn’t wait long to oust Carlos Ghosn as chairman following his Nov. 19 arrest, but alliance partner Renault’s board stood firm, awaiting more information. The waiting continued as Mitsubishi voted to drop Ghosn as chairman.

The disgraced executive, indicted this week by Japanese authorities on charges of underreporting his income by tens of millions of dollars, remains in a Tokyo lockup but still holds the title of Renault CEO. If the French automaker’s board finds the contents of a dossier delivered by Nissan compelling, that status could soon change.

As reported by Automotive News, citing Reuters and Bloomberg, Renault now has in its possession the results of Nissan’s internal investigation. The probe into Ghosn’s financial practices came about by way of a whistleblower. In its wake, Ghosn and board member John Kelly found themselves both ousted from the company and placed in custody by Japanese authorities.

Some board members at Renault felt a coup was afoot and, despite all three alliance members publicly stating their continued commitment to the deep-rooted partnership, suspicions remain. Did Nissan cook up a reason to drop Ghosn as a way of warding off a full merger of the automakers? That’s what some whispering voices claimed. Nissan hopes the dossier, now in possession of Renault, changes things.

For the French automaker, the decision of what to do with Ghosn is fraught with politics. Ghosn holds French citizenship. France holds a 15-percent stake in the automaker, earning it two spots on the company’s board. Meanwhile, Ghosn is credited with saving the automaker from bankruptcy while at the same time forming a profitable partnership with Nissan.

According to media reports, the French government has not yet had an opportunity to look at the Nissan dossier. Before Nissan was able to hand over the evidence, it first had to clear the info transfer with Japanese authorities, which clearly took time.

Renault’s board meets Thursday, and you can bet there’s pressure to see some action come from it.

[Image: Nissan]

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12 Comments on “Amid Strained Relationship, Nissan Hands Renault the Straight Dope on Ghosn...”

  • avatar

    Japan is a country of laws. Ghosn was caught stealing. Will France prosecute a celebrity? In America, we just give them a golden parachute and let them retire rich.

    • 0 avatar

      He was not caught stealing, yet. The government claims he under reported earnings. The timing is quite suspicious. Yes Japan is a country of laws. So is the U.S. Both countries have a history of misusing those laws to get things their way.

      • 0 avatar

        GE has cooked it books for decades. The SEC is just now investigating GE bookkeeping. Enron is another example, although eventually the CEO went to jail. Bank fraud? look at the great recession. Or the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s. Charles Keating eventually went to jail, but none of the politicians who accepted his bribes were charged. Keating was the only person to spend some time in jail, and he got out early. One prominent member of the Bush family went free.
        Part of our larger problem is that the US legalizes CEO theft from companies. As an example, Marissa Mayer cleaning out Yahoo.

    • 0 avatar

      “Japan is a country of laws.”

      I wish we were a country of laws.

      Desearía que fuéramos un país de leyes.

      Kuv xav tias peb yog ib lub tebchaws ntawm txoj cai.

      Waxaan jeclaan lahaa inaan nahay waddan sharciga ah.

      काश हम कानूनों का देश थे।

      Mwen swete nou se yon peyi nan lwa.

  • avatar

    Too bad he didn’t head a U.S. bank in the 2009 debacle. He could have kept his salary and his bonus without even a blink.

    • 0 avatar

      A British duo called Bird and Fortune made some excellent comic skits about the financial crisis. This one, called “Subprime Crisis” and made about a year before the proverbial hit the fan, was especially prescient:

  • avatar

    This news snippet doesn’t mention that Renault told Nissan to stop trying to give the “info” direct to Renault board members, but to the Renault legal team for analysis before tomorrow’s board meeting.

    Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan. Nissan only owns 15% of Renault and is a nonvoting partner. Here is a much better summary of what’s going on than this TTAC mishmash:

    Nissan sales are dropping off as even poverty spec buyers realize that grey hard plastic is not a universal trim item in other manufacturer’s vehicles. The chafing at the bit the Japanese have felt becoming bigger than Renault yet having very little formal say seems grounds for a palace coup. Better to do it before the bottom falls out of the company again.

    JUst like GM who accepted billions from the US and Canadian governments and now decide that China and Mexico are better places to build vehicles, Nissan has chosen to forget it was on the ropes back in 1999, when Renault rescued it from oblivion and sent Ghosn to sort it all out with great success.

    I guess you could say that in the automotive world, it’s the norm to bite the hand that fed you and kept you going in dire times, because now you’re a strapping big boy with big ambitions, so you pretend to disremember previous help. On purpose, the way I imagine it.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe this is a palace coup. Lots of time to fabricate information…

    • 0 avatar

      “This news snippet doesn’t mention that Renault told Nissan to stop trying to give the “info” direct to Renault board members, but to the Renault legal team for analysis before tomorrow’s board meeting.” So, even with Goshn and Kelley locked up, Nissan still can’t follow rules. —-maybe they aren’t the source of Nissan’s problems…

  • avatar
    Null Set

    I think this is a both/and, not an either/or situation. Companies and governments often turn a blind eye to questionable behavior on the part of their leadership, as long as they remain useful. The minute (a) their success becomes too great or (b) too little, the knives come out, and the shady stuff comes in very handy at that point. I’m pretty sure Ghosn is guilty as charged, but also that this is only happening now, and in such a publicly decisive and irrevocable fashion for purely political reasons.

  • avatar

    Greg Kelly. Not John Kelly.

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