Carlos Ghosn, the now former CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, has been unanimously discharged by Nissan’s board of directors following allegations of financial misconduct. Earlier this week, we reported on Nissan director Greg Kelly and Carlos Ghosn’s arrest in Tokyo, Japan following allegations of financial misconduct after a whistleblower report tipped off Nissan. The pair were arrested for “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.”
After Renault backed away from a last-minute demand to postpone the decision, Nissan’s board of directors unanimously voted to discharge Ghosn and Kelly over their allegations on November 21, 2018. The vote was supported by Renault appointees on the Nissan board after a four-hour meeting.
Nissan released the following statement in regards to Ghosn and Kelly’s discharge:
The board of directors for Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. met today at the company’s global headquarters in Yokohama. At the beginning of the session, the board acknowledged the significance of the matter and confirmed that the long-standing Alliance partnership with Renault remains unchanged and that the mission is to minimize the potential impact and confusion on the day-to-day cooperation among the Alliance partners. After reviewing a detailed report of the internal investigation, the board voted unanimously:
- To discharge Carlos Ghosn as Chairman of the Board
- To discharge Carlos Ghosn as Representative Director
- To discharge Greg Kelly as Representative Director
- To study the creation of a special committee to appropriately take advice from an independent third party regarding the governance management system and better governance of director compensation. Further to the mandate, the three independent directors – Masakazu Toyoda, Keiko Ihara and Jean-Baptiste Duzan – will lead this matter.
- To approve establishment of an advisory committee chaired by Masakazu Toyoda and including Keiko Ihara and Jean-Baptiste Duzan. The committee will propose nominations from the board of directors for the position of Chairman of the Board.
Sources familiar with the matter informed Reuters that two Renault board directors warned Nissan that the French automaker would exercise their right under the alliance master agreement to appoint Ghosn’s successor and a fourth Renault nominee to the Nissan board after a failed attempt to postpone the vote to dismiss Ghosn. The ultimatum was reportedly issued as a response to Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa.
Both Ghosn and Kelly remain in custody at the time of this report.