Nissan Motor Co.’s board has removed Carlos Ghosn as chairman, as the directors moved to contain the damage from the iconic executive’s shock arrest.
According to reports, the board was meeting on Thursday to vote on Ghosn’s removal. Ghosn, who has been detained by Japanese authorities since Monday, will officially remain a director, since a shareholder vote is needed to remove him from the board completely.
“It’s a coup,” said Tatsuo Yoshida, an analyst at Sawakami Asset Management, who used to work at Nissan.
The removal follows probes by Nissan and Japanese authorities into alleged financial misconduct by long-time leader Ghosn, with Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa emerging as a driving force behind the investigation. Prior to his surprise arrest in Tokyo on Monday, Ghosn had been preparing to push for a full merger of Nissan with French partner Renault SA, which he also heads as CEO and chairman. That combination plan has faced resistance from Saikawa, who Ghosn in the past presented as his protege.