Thursday , October 21 2021

The Mitsubishi Motors Board met to remove Chairman Ghosn



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TOKYO: The Mitsubishi Motors Corp. board will meet Monday to get rid of Carlos Ghosn from his role as chairman after his arrest and dismissal from alliance partner Nissan Motor Co last week for alleged financial violations.

Ghosn's abolition by the eight-member Mitsubishi board, which meets at Tokyo's automotive headquarters at 1630 (0730 GMT) will end its leadership from Japanese carmakers amid dissatisfaction with the role of French partner Renault SA in the 19-year alliance.

Renault and Nissan sealed the alliance in 1999, when the Japanese manufacturer was rescued from bankruptcy. It was enlarged in 2016 to include Mitsubishi and allow members to jointly develop products and control costs. The alliance competes with Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp for the ranking of the world's largest carmaker.

Even when Nissan had recovered and developed rapidly, it remained a junior partner in the shareholder structure. Renault has 43 percent of Nissan and Japanese carmakers hold 15 percent of reciprocal non-voting shares in French companies. And Nissan is almost 60 percent bigger than Renault with sales.

Top alliance executives met this week in Amsterdam, aiming to protect their joint operations from the downfall of Ghosn's arrest as a power struggle between Nissan and Renault. Renault has refrained from firing him as chairman and CEO.

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa told staff on Monday that the concentration of power in the Ghosn meant there was a lack of direct communication between other alliance council members, someone familiar with the contents of the city hall said.

Nissan said it did not disclose details of internal events or communications to employees.

Ghosn pushed for deeper ties, including the potential full merger between Renault and Nissan at the insistence of the French government, despite strong objections in Japanese companies.

Nissan removed Ghosn at a high betting board meeting on Thursday after accusations of understating his income and using company money for personal use.

Ghosn denied the allegations, NHK reported on Sunday.

His shooting from Mitsubishi Motors will mark the deletion of people credited with the company after being rocked by a fraud scandal in 2016.

Nissan holds a controlling 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors and has two executives on board. The other deputy director is CEO Osamu Masuko, who said last week the alliance might be difficult to manage without Ghosn.

While car makers have stressed that operations and business are operating as usual, Nissan has postponed the launch of its high-performance Leaf electric car "to ensure that the launch of this important product can receive appropriate coverage for him", a Nissan spokesman said.

Mitsubishi Motors shares rose 3.3 percent, while Nissan rose 1.8 percent, outperforming the broader 0.8 percent market increase.

(Reporting by Maki Shiraki, Sam Nussey and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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