Nissan Motor Co Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested on Monday for alleged financial misconduct and will be fired from the board this week, a dramatic fall for a charismatic leader hailed for rescuing the Japanese carmaker from close to bankruptcy.
Ghosn is also chairman and chief executive of Nissan's French partner Renault and one of the best known figures in the global car industry, and his departure will raise questions about the future of the alliance.
Nissan said that an internal investigation, triggered by a tip-off from a whistleblower revealed Ghosn engaged in wrongdoing including personal use of company money and under-reporting for years how much he had was earning.
Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa said too much power had been concentrated on Ghosn, a rare foreign executive who enjoyed corporate superstar status in Japan for reviving the ailing Japanese brand.
“Looking back, the concentration of power was something we need to deeply reflect on,” he said, confirming the arrest of Ghosn in Japan.
Saikawa said he could not give specifics on the personal use of company money, but said that the wrongdoing was serious and unacceptable and had gone on for years. Ghosn could not be reached for comment.
“To have so greatly violated the trust of many, I feel full of disappointment and regret,” Saikawa told a news
“It is very difficult to express this.... It's not just disappointment, but a stronger feeling of outrage, and for me, despondency.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said the government, the French carmaker's top shareholder, will be vigilant about Renault and its alliance with Nissan.
Saikawa said he would propose at a board meeting on Thursday to remove Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly.