Carlos Ghosn, the head of the Renault-Nissan Alliance and one of the global auto industry’s most prominent proponents of electrification, has been arrested in Tokyo over “financial misconduct.”
Along with Nissan Director Greg Kelly, Ghosn was arrested for “reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn’s compensation.”
Reuters reported (via Japan’s Jiji news agency) that Ghosn under-reported nearly 10 billion yen, or $88.6 million, in compensation as around 5 billion yen.
Nissan said Ghosn and Kelly will be fired from their executive positions and removed from the company’s Board of Directors.
It’s a tragic fall from grace for Ghosn, who oversaw an impressive comeback at Nissan, led a global partnership with Renault and Mitsubishi, and pushed the automakers to take an early lead in electrification with the production of the successful Nissan LEAF and Renault Zoe.
The news casts doubt on the future of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Automotive News reports that Ghosn had been expected to step down as Chairman of the alliance in the coming years, and had been working to create a structure that would continue the carmakers’ partnership.
Other news outlets speculated that these allegations could be the result of a coup staged by Nissan’s old guard. Financial Times reports that Ghosn was “the driving force behind the merger plans, which met with fierce resistance from Nissan’s board.”