Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested on Monday for supposed financial misconduct and is going to be fired from the board this week, a dramatic fall for a leader admired for rescuing the Japanese automaker from close to bankruptcy.
Ghosn is also chairman and chief executive of Nissan’s partner Renault and his departure will raise concerns about the future of the alliance.
Nissan stated an internal investigation, caused by a tip-off from a whistleblower, had shown that Ghosn indulged in wrongdoing consisting personal use of company money and under-reporting for years regarding his earnings.
Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa stated too much power had been focused on Ghosn, among the best known figures in the worldwide auto industry and a rare foreign executive who saw corporate superstar status in Japan for restoring the ailing Japanese brand.
“The problem of governance was significant,” Saikawa stated, confirming the arrest of Ghosn in Japan.
“Looking back, after 2005 when Ghosn became CEO of both Renault and Nissan, we did not really discuss the implications.”
Saikawa, a long-standing lieutenant to Ghosn, stated he could not give details on the personal use of company money but that the wrongdoing was concerning and had gone on for years.
Ghosn could not be reached for interview.
“To have so greatly breached the trust of many, I feel full of disappointment and regret,” Saikawa informed a late night news conference. “It’s not just disappointment, but a stronger feeling of outrage, and for me, despondency.”
Saikawa took over as Nissan CEO from Ghosn in 2017. Ghosn once informed reporters the two thought alike.