Carlos Ghosn has been ousted from Mitsubishi just one week after he was arrested in Japan for “significant acts of misconduct.” Once a superstar in the automotive industry with over 40 years of experience, Ghosn is accused of underreporting his compensation and using company assets for personal use.
Nissan released a brief statement on the matter in which Representative Director Greg Kelly was also implicated. Ghosn was removed from his position as Nissan Motor Company chairman last week. This week, the board at Mitsubishi Motors unanimously voted to remove him from his role as chairman.
Ghosn came to Nissan at a time when the company was in dire need of restructuring. He eliminated jobs, closed factories, and reworked the supply network as a part of a three-year plan to save the company in 2000. He pulled it off and in only one year, Nissan was making a profit. His success with Nissan is now overshadowed by his arrest.
Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault are involved in a partnership that had Ghosn helping steering all three companies. Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan while Nissan owns 15 percent of Renault. Nissan also owns a 43 percent stake in Mitsubishi with two executives serving on its board.
Mitsubishi’s ouster of Ghosn leaves CEO Osamu Masuko serving as the company’s temporary chairman. Meanwhile, Ghosn is still chairman and CEO at Renault. The full fallout from the scandal won’t be known for weeks as the various executive teams determine who will serve permanently in the positions vacated by Ghosn.
Also in question is exactly how the alliance from the three will change without Ghosn’s guidance. Ghosn was pushing to have things more closely tied together with possibly a full merger between Renault and Nissan. Whether that will happen without Ghosn’s influence is in question.
Ghosn, for his part, has denied the allegations. The investigation into the reported misconduct is still ongoing and Nissan stated it is cooperating fully with investigators.
While the automaker awaits a final outcome with full details of the alleged misconduct, neither Nissan nor Mitsubishi was content to wait and see while Ghosn continued his tenure. His removal from both companies makes it possible for new leadership to take the reigns. Exactly where that leadership will take the alliance is unclear.