Complex Made Simple

A moment of respite for Carlos Ghosn?

Carlos Ghosn might be knee-deep in misfortune and legal purgatory, but he's most likely in for a huge payday regardless.

Ghosn will leave Renault as CEO, but there's a catch Ghosn likely looking at a payday worth $5.7 million Bloomberg says there could be more payouts on the horizon for Ghosn

After having his second request for bail rejected earlier this week, Ghosn could be looking to finally catch a break. How much this will matter with him in custody, remains unknown.

An uphill battle

Things have been stacking up against Ghosn, the man who saved Nissan in the early 2000s. With allegation after allegation hailed upon him, and with him looking at a possible 6-month detention period until his trial, he’s not had much to look forward to.

Now, this could change.

Following his arrest, he was fired from his positions at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault had held out hope. In recent days, however, and following Ghosn’s bail rejection, there was chatter surfacing that the French automaker was considering letting the troubled ex-CEO go.

Time for a payday?

This week, media reports confirmed that Renault was negotiating Ghosn’s exit as CEO and chairman.

Yesterday, Ghosn complied, but with an ace up his sleeve.

As Bloomberg explains, “Renault’s board and Ghosn signed a two-year non-compete agreement in 2015 that would kick in whenever he leaves the company. If the board elects to enforce that, he’s entitled to get two times his salary and variable compensation, amounting to at least 5 million euros ($5.7 million).”

Even in detention, and in an ironic turn of fortune, Ghosn could be nabbing one more paycheck, it would seem.

But that’s not all. Bloomberg continued by explaining that “he could potentially get payouts from Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which both ousted him as chairman. Nissan is still working out what its legal obligations are regarding his compensation, a person familiar with the matter said.”

As for who replaced him, the Guardian reported: “ outgoing Michelin boss Jean-Dominique Senard as chairman and Ghosn’s former deputy Thierry Bolloré as chief executive, confirming the requests of the French government, which owns 15% of the carmaker.”

A smoother Nissan-Renault alliance?

With Ghosn’s replacements in place, the tension between Renault and Nissan could be eased, following a rumoured Renault-Nissan merger that Ghosn was considering.

Many media outlets have posited that this was the real trigger for the Ghosn investigation in the first place. This is because Nissan owns way less of Renault than vice versa. According to the Japan Times, the Japanese automaker “has far less influence, owning a 15% non-voting stake in Renault, which in turn has a 43% holding of Nissan.”

With France owning a 15% stake in Renault, politics likely come into play as well.

Ghosn was arrested in late November following accusations of him understating his pay. Further accusations had alleged that he paid out a Saudi businessman with Nissan funds to cover personal losses.