File picture: Kenzaburo Fukuhara / Kyodo News via AP.
File picture: Kenzaburo Fukuhara / Kyodo News via AP.

Nissan delays decision on Carlos Ghosn replacement

By Maki Shiraki Time of article published Dec 5, 2018

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Tokyo - A Nissan panel failed to nominate a successor to former chairman Carlos Ghosn on Tuesday, in the wake of his arrest and dismissal for alleged financial misconduct last month, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Ghosn could remain in detention until the end of the year as Tokyo prosecutors plan to rearrest him on a fresh claim of understating his income, the Sankei newspaper has reported.

Nissan has tasked a three-member panel of external directors with the selection of a new chairman. The panel includes Masakazu Toyoda - a former trade and industry official, Jean-Baptiste Duzan - a retired executive from Nissan's French partner Renault SA, and race car driver Keiko Ihara.

The panel plans to submit the name of a nominee at a board meeting on December 17. Board changes must be approved by shareholders.

The panel did not discuss any particular executive as a nominee at its meeting on Tuesday, the source said, adding the selection was put off because Duzan asked for more time.

Two other people with knowledge of the matter said Renault's board was meeting on Wednesday to discuss the leadership crisis.

Ghosn continues to chair Renault's board, but was ousted from the position at Nissan and third alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors after his arrest on November 19.

Some Nissan executives have long been unhappy with what they see as Renault's outsized influence over the Japanese carmaker, which dwarfs Renault in vehicle sales.

Renault holds 43 percent of Nissan, while Nissan's 15 percent stake in its partner carries no voting rights.

Ghosn, the main architect of the alliance, has been detained in Tokyo since his arrest for allegedly conspiring with former Nissan Representative Director Greg Kelly to understate his income by about half of the actual 10 billion yen.

Ghosn has been unable to respond to the allegations, which public broadcaster NHK has said he has denied. Calls to Ghosn's lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, at his office went unanswered.


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