NISSAN shareholders sack ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn

Wednesday, 10 Apr, 2019

An expected but important shareholder vote on Monday finally removed embattled former Nissan and Renault executive Carlos Ghosn from Nissan's board of directors, reports the Associated Press. The meeting also saw shareholders vote to remove Greg Kelly, a USA executive who served as Ghosn's right-hand man and who also faces charges in Japan, and approve a motion to replace Ghosn with Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard.

They also voted in Senard as a director, a move that was widely seen as an attempt to assuage concern about the future of the Nissan-Renault automaking alliance engineered by Ghosn. Renault is an alliance partner of Nissan and the largest shareholder of the Japanese carmaker.

They will also likely jettison as a board member Greg Kelly, a United States executive who served as Ghosn's right-hand man and who also faces charges in Japan.

At the meeting, which was closed except to stockholders but livestreamed, angry shareholders demanded an explanation for how wrongdoing on an allegedly massive scale had gone unchecked for years.

"I can't comprehend how this could have happened, despite having auditors", said Setsuko Shibata, a retired homemaker who said her family had held Nissan shares for decades.

Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa, Mr Ghosn's protege-turned-accuser, said the company would investigate and fix the lapses that led to the current situation, and work on improving its governance.

"I deeply, deeply apologize for all the worries and troubles we have caused", Saikawa said. "This is unprecedented and unbelievable misconduct by a top executive". An external panel found Ghosn had too much power "concentrated in his hands" and recommended changes to Nissan's governance. Both Ghosn and Kelly have maintained their innocence in the scheme in public comments, with Ghosn tweeting that he would "tell the truth" about the scheme just before his last arrest. Ghosn says the compensation was never decided or paid, no investment losses were suffered by Nissan, and the payments were for legitimate services.

That request was granted, severing Ghosn's last ties with the corporation.

Japan Nissan
Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa apologised to shareholders

This detention period can be extended for 10 more days if the court allows, meaning Ghosn is unlikely to be released any time soon.

The date for his trial has not been set and is likely to be months away.

Ghosn no longer holds any post at the company, ending a almost two-decade relationship.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance now rivals vehicle giants Volkswagen AG of Germany and Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp in global sales.

Carole intends now to try to pressure the French government to do more for her husband whose 108-day imprisonment in Japan between November 19 and March 6 had left him a "different person," she told The Financial Times in a separate interview.

Japanese investigators confiscated her Lebanese passport but she used her American passport to leave for France on Friday, she said.

"As a French citizen, it should be a right".

A lawyer for Nissan former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who was taken back into custody last week, has outlined the conditions for his initial release on bail in an effort to clarify what he called incorrect speculation in the Japanese media.