Carlos Ghosn, the disgraced former leader of Renault Nissan and public face of the alliance, has reportedly been arrested in Japan on charges of financial misdeeds. The Japanese government is accusing Ghosn of under-reporting about $44 million in income. While Ghosn is a French national, his own country is taking a step away from him, possibly signaling they think he’s done for.
According to Automotive News, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said they don’t back Ghosn running Renault any longer since he’s obviously “not in a position” to do so. Running a large automaker from a jail cell would be difficult, although that didn’t slow down Al Capone.
An interim leader will be appointed any moment now, and this decision could be pivotal. If Ghosn is convicted and sent to prison in Japan, that interim leader could turn into a more permanent change.
Lest you think the French government is completely abandoning Ghosn, Le Maire did said the government won’t demand he leaves the Renault board. The reason is simple: a lack of proof that Ghosn is guilty. Of course, France is the biggest shareholder for Renault, and so can effectively stave off attempts to push Ghosn out, for now.
There are questions if this information leaked about Ghosn’s misdeeds is part of a palace coup performed by Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa. If true, it shows all is not well with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and that the end is likely near. That will have ripple effects in the auto industry, since the Alliance used to be something analysts thought would be a blueprint for the future.
Source: Automotive News