Nissan-Renault Rivalry Bursts Into the Open After Ghosn's Arrest

Nissan has accused Ghosn of under-reporting his salary over a period of several years and 'numerous significant acts of misconduct'. — Reuters pic

It may also bolster Chief Operating Officer Thierry Bollore's powers. Ghosn's position as board chair for Renault will be temporarily occupied by the lead independent director, Phillipe Lagayette.

The Renault board will meet today to discuss a potential replacement for Ghosn as chief executive.

The soft-spoken French national from Brittany joined Renault in 2012 from supplier Faurecia, where he rose through the ranks to become vice president with responsibilities for global industry, quality and packaging. He started his career at tiremaker Michelin, working there for a number of years at the same time as Ghosn, who has called Bollore a "good candidate" to become Renault CEO.

The Nissan CEO nevertheless took aim at a Renault-led alliance setup that "concentrates power in one individual", and said a new board committee would examine its role in the scandal.

The allegations of misconduct relate to Ghosn's role as chairman of Nissan, which Renault now owns a 43.4 per cent stake in.

Reports from Japan indicate the Carlos Ghosn, the current chairman of Nissan, and its former CEO, was arrested on-board his private jet.

Renault's decision not to strip Ghosn of his duties puts it at odds with alliance partner Nissan - which Renault owns a stake in - and follows Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa saying he felt "despair, indignation and resentment" as Ghosn's alleged actions.

Ghosn, who was set to leave in 2022, had been laying the groundwork to ensure a future for the alliance, including the option of a merger.

The 19-year history of the Renault-Nissan alliance, enlarged in 2016 year to include Mitsubishi Motors, has been marked by tensions among the carmakers and the French government, Renault's main shareholder with a 15% stake. Nissan, while nearly 60% bigger than Renault by sales, remains the junior partner in their shareholding hierarchy with a smaller reciprocal 15% non-voting stake in Renault.

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