Business

Nissan board votes to oust Ghosn as chairman

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN/PARIS Nissan Motor's board voted unanimously to oust chairman Carlos Ghosn yesterday after the shock arrest of the industry heavyweight, ushering in a period of uncertainty for its 19-year alliance with Renault.

The Japanese company said its board also voted to remove Mr Greg Kelly - who like Mr Ghosn has been arrested after allegations of financial misconduct - from his post as representative director.

The moves, which leaves the chairman position vacant, came despite Renault urging Nissan's board before its meeting to delay removing Mr Ghosn, sources told Reuters.

The Franco-Japanese alliance, enlarged in 2016 to include Japan's Mitsubishi Motors, has been rattled by the arrest of the 64-year-old in Japan on Monday.

Japanese prosecutors said the two men conspired to understate Mr Ghosn's compensation at Nissan over five years from 2010, saying it was about half the actual 10 billion yen (S$120 million).

Renault has refrained from firing Mr Ghosn as chairman and chief executive.

But Mitsubishi Motors plans to remove Mr Ghosn from his post of chairman at a board meeting next week.

"For me, the future of the alliance is the bigger deal," a senior Nissan official told reporters, when asked about Mr Ghosn's arrest.

The Asahi Shimbun said yesterday, quoting unnamed sources, that Mr Ghosn had given Mr Kelly orders by e-mail to make false statements on his remuneration. Prosecutors likely seized the related e-mails and may use them as evidence.

The Yomiuri, Japan's biggest-circulation daily, cited unnamed sources as saying Nissan's internal investigation found that Mr Ghosn had since 2002 instructed that about US$100,000 (S$137,000) a year be paid to his elder sister as remuneration for a non-existent advisory role. - REUTERS

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