TOKYO (Reuters) – Mitsubishi Motors Corp’s (7211.T) board will meet on Monday to remove Carlos Ghosn from his role as chairman after his arrest and ouster from alliance partner Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) last week for alleged financial misconduct.
FILE PHOTO: Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, attends the Tomorrow In Motion event on the eve of press day at the Paris Auto Show, in Paris, France, October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
A removal of Ghosn by Mitsubishi’s eight-member board, which meets at the automaker’s Tokyo headquarters at 1630 (0730 GMT) would see an end to his chairmanship of Japanese automakers amid discontent over French partner Renault SA’s (RENA.PA) role in the alliance.
Ghosn’s firing would also mark the removal of the man credited with stabilizing Mitsubishi Motors after it was rocked by a cheating scandal in 2016.
Top alliance executives are meeting this week in Amsterdam, aiming to shield their joint operations from the fallout of Ghosn’s arrest as a power struggle between Nissan and Renault looms.
Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa told staff on Monday that the concentration of power in Ghosn meant there was a lack of direct communication between the other alliance board members, a person familiar with the contents of the town hall said.
Nissan said it does not disclose details of internal events or communications to employees.
While almost 60 percent bigger than Renault by sales, Nissan remains junior in their shareholding structure. Ghosn was pushing for a deeper tie-up, including potentially a full merger between the two automakers at the French government’s urging, despite strong reservations at the Japanese firm.
Nissan holds a controlling 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors and has two executives on the board. The other representative director is CEO Osamu Masuko, who said last week the alliance may be hard to manage without Ghosn.
Nissan removed Ghosn at a high stakes board meeting on Thursday but Renault has refrained from firing him as chairman and CEO. Ghosn has denied the allegations against him, public broadcaster NHK reported on Sunday.
While the automakers have stressed that operations and business are proceeding as normal, Nissan has postponed the launch of its high-performance Leaf electric car “to ensure that this important product unveiling could receive the coverage it merits”, a Nissan spokesman said.
Reporting by Maki Shiraki, Sam Nussey and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman