The fate of Nissan’s disgraced Carlos Ghosn as chairman of the Japanese car giant is set to be decided when board members meet to vote on his dismissal, days after the tycoon’s arrest for financial misconduct.
The fallen superstar executive credited with turning around the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Motors alliance is in detention over allegations he under-reported his pay by millions of dollars.
His arrest has sent shockwaves through the global car sector, corporate Japan and beyond.If Nissan’s board remove the 64-year-old millionaire from his post on Thursday afternoon Japan time, it would be a staggering reversal of fortune for the once-revered manager.But it would appear his fate is all but sealed after his hand-picked replacement as CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, launched an astonishing broadside at his mentor.
Saikawa said Monday that “too much authority” had been placed in the chairman’s hands and lamented the “dark side of the Ghosn era”, as he called the board meeting to fire him. Japanese authorities have extended Ghosn’s detention by 10 days, several media reported, as it emerged Nissan itself could face charges over the scandal.
The Brazilian-born polyglot is being held on suspicion of under-reporting his income by about five billion yen (USD 44.5 million) over five years, prosecutors say. A months-long investigation prompted by a whistleblower uncovered years of financial wrongdoing, including the misuse of company assets, according to Saikawa.
Public broadcaster NHK said Nissan had paid “huge sums” to provide Ghosn with luxury homes in Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Paris and Amsterdam “without any legitimate business reason”.Prosecutors had 48 hours after Ghosn’s arrest to either press formal charges, release him or request a 10-day custody extension to continue the probe.
Even when his reputation was sky-high, he attracted criticism for a flashy lifestyle and high salary at odds with traditional Japanese corporate culture.Ghosn is being held in a detention centre in northern Tokyo in conditions far removed from his usual expensive surroundings. “In principle, he will be all alone in a cell,” lawyer Ayano Kanezuka said.