With news surfacing yesterday that Carlos Ghosn had been barred from a major board meeting that was to be held today, the ousted CEO and chairman was reminded that he must contend with major changes in his new life. Long-gone are the days when he reigned supreme over Nissan, Renault and the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance.
In fact, news just broke from Japan that a new alliance has been born – and Ghosn was not there to see it.
A new, Ghosn-less alliance is born
Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, Renault Chief Executive Thierry Bollore, Nissan Motor Co. CEO Hiroto Saikawa, and Osamu Masuko, the chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., held a joint news conference on Tuesday after the board meeting Ghosn was barred from attending.
Today, a new three-way alliance is born, no longer headed by Ghosn.
“The chief executives of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi have announced a new board to oversee the French-Japanese auto alliance, seeking a ‘new start’ for the partnership after the arrest and dismissal of Nissan’s former chairman, Carlos Ghosn,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.
“The alliance did not announce any changes in mutual stake holdings,” the news agency continued. “The new board, consisting of those four executives, will meet every month in Paris or Tokyo and oversee various projects, helping to make the companies’ operations more efficient, they said.”
“This is a very special day for the alliance,” Renault SA’s chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, told reporters after a meeting at Nissan’s Yokohama headquarters, and according to AP’s report.
Ever since Ghosn’s arrest, there have been rumours in the media that the whole ordeal arose as a result of Nissan being unhappy with Ghosn’s leadership and his take on the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, especially in regards to the sway of power in this trifecta. Renault owns 43% of Nissan after all, while Nissan only owns a non-voting 15% stake in Renault. It holds a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors.
How Ghosn will factor in moving ahead is still unclear. He is likely to fight back and not simply give away all the hard work he’d put in over the years.
Ghosn rejected – A pang of reality
While ousted Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn finally made it out of detainment last week, it was obvious his life would no longer be the same. Being under continuous surveillance is one thing, but there’s more that he has lost that he will only come to experience in the coming weeks.
Yesterday, he got a taste of that reality.
According to AP, a Japanese court on Monday rejected a request by Ghosn to attend the Nissan board meeting that was held today. For a giant of the automotive industry, a man that has built his power and fortune over several decades, this rejection hits close to home – a true reminder of Ghosn’s fall from grace and loss of status. This is the same man that was heralded as the saviour of Nissan in recent decades.
Following accusations of him understating his pay and transferring personal losses to Nissan, Ghosn was removed from his position as chairman and CEO. However, he remains on the board, AP noted. The Tokyo District Court said it rejected Ghosn’s request on Monday but did not elaborate on the reasons.
As AP explains, it had been unclear whether Ghosn could have attended the board meeting in the first place. Regardless, he would need permission from the court, as Ghosn remains a flight risk in the eyes of the court and prosecutors.
“The restrictions say he cannot tamper with evidence, and attending the board meeting could be seen as putting pressure on Nissan employees,” AP said.
“A decision at a shareholders’ meeting is needed to remove Ghosn from the board,” AP said. “A shareholders’ meeting is scheduled for next month.”
Still, Ghosn made sure to voice his opposition.
“Mr Ghosn is disappointed that the Court denied his request to attend the Nissan Board of Directors meeting,” according to a statement issued by Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, Reuters reported.
“As an elected member of the Board, Mr. Ghosn stands ready to fulfil his professional duties to the shareholders who elected him,” the statement said. “It is unfortunate that the meritless and unsubstantiated accusations against him have blocked his ideas and perspective from being deployed in service of the company he served for the past twenty years.”
Hironaka has said Ghosn will speak to reporters soon. A date for a news conference has not been announced, however.
To this day, Ghosn continues to defend his innocence and has been compliant with all of the court’s demands. At one point, he even offered to wear an ankle tag as part of his proposed bail conditions.