Ghosn's Days As an Auto Executive Could End Tomorrow

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ghosns days as an auto executive could end tomorrow

As the Carlos Ghosn saga slowly crawls its way towards a trial, the former Nissan and Mitsubishi chairman might soon add another “former” to his list of descriptors. In an effort to mend a rift in the automotive alliance, Renault’s board has scheduled an emergency meeting for Thursday, during which the pressure will be on to oust Ghosn as the automaker’s chairman and CEO.

As he cools his heels in jail, Ghosn isn’t in a position to offer much resistance to any decision rendered by the board. The exec has reportedly offered to resign.

While Nissan and Mitsubishi dropped Ghosn not long after his Nov. 19 arrest on suspicion of underreporting income to Japanese regulators, Renault held out. Its partial French ownership and Ghosn’s nationality played a role, and the diverging decisions soon placed a strain on the alliance relationship.

According to the Financial Times, Ghosn’s failure to secure bail earlier this week was the final straw for his tenure as Renault boss. Sources close to the talks claim that Ghosn, realizing he’ll be held in jail until his trail, has begun making formal arrangements to resign his posts.

From FT:

Renault and the French government have been discussing the terms of Mr Ghosn’s departure ahead of its board meeting on Thursday where the company is expected to appoint Jean-Dominique Senard, chief executive of tyremaker Michelin, as chairman while Thierry Bolloré, who is already running the business in Mr Ghosn’s absence, is made chief executive.

On Tuesday, Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, said on French television that Mr Senard “would make an excellent chairman of Renault”.

Mr Ghosn is also expected to step down as chief executive and chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Mr Senard is then expected to take over his roles, according to people close to the group.

Japanese authorities have charged Ghosn with underreporting his income for years, as well as transferring personal trading losses to Nissan. While the executive maintains he has done nothing wrong, two bail appeals in the past week both met with disappointment.

Late last week, Nissan and Mitsubishi issued a joint media release detailing the findings of an internal investigation. In it, the companies exposed another alleged misdeed. Ghosn is accused of receiving “improper” payments from Nissan-Mitsubishi B.V., a Netherlands-based joint venture, of which the disgraced exec served as director.

From the release:

The joint investigation has confirmed that Ghosn entered into a personal employment contract with NMBV [Nissan-Mitsubishi B.V., a Netherlands-based joint venture] and that under that contract he received a total of 7,822,206.12 euros (including tax) in compensation and other payments of NMBV funds. Despite the clear requirement that any decisions regarding director compensation and employment contracts specifying compensation must be approved by NMBV’s board of directors, Ghosn entered into the contract without any discussion with the other board members, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko, to improperly receive the payments.

In addition, the investigation has also confirmed that soon after the announcement in 2016 that Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors would forge a strategic alliance, Ghosn, former representative director Greg Kelly and others began to explore the possibility of paying undisclosed compensation to Ghosn through an equally-owned Netherlands-based unconsolidated joint venture between the companies.

[Image: Nissan]

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  • Thornmark Thornmark on Jan 24, 2019

    Seems Mr. Bean took Nissan down market and wrecked the brand. Sure that increased sales but also made whole segments unprofitable for better vehicles, like the Fusion, driving them out of the market. Now Nissan wants to undo his damage by restraining discounts, yet all the new Altimas I see are rental cars. How long did it take Cadillac to restore its place after it debased itself by seeking volume and profit over quality?

    • Cdotson Cdotson on Jan 24, 2019

      IF Cadillac ever restores its' place we'll be able to let you know. I thought it ironic Nissan partnered with Mitsubishi since Nissan now appeals to the same market that Mitsubishi did 18-19 years ago and we know how well that worked out for them.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Jan 24, 2019

    Waiting for this circus of a Japanese coup to end; it's a shame he won't have the authority to fire them all once he gets out.

  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
  • ToolGuy You make them sound like criminals.
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