Renault has named a temporary chief executive to handle day-to-day operations following Carlos Ghosn’s arrest for alleged breaches of Japanese financial laws, although Ghosn will retain his position as chairman and CEO.
Chief operating officer Thierry Bolloré was appointed to the role during an emergency board meeting to stand in for Ghosn, whom Renault described in a statement as “temporarily incapacitated”. The French car manufacturer said that the new arrangement was made to “preserve the interests of the group and the continuity of its operations”, and that Bolloré will have the “same powers” as Ghosn.
Ghosn, who was chairman of both Renault and sister company Nissan, was arrested on Monday in Japan following allegations of financial misconduct by the Japanese firm, including claims that Ghosn under-reported his salary by 5bn yen ($45m) over five years.
Public broadcaster NHK also reported that Nissan had paid for luxury homes for Ghosn in Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Paris and Amsterdam “without any legitimate business reason”.
Nissan has indicated that they intend to remove Ghosn from his posts, and despite his having been retained by his French employer, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had earlier told the media that Ghosn was “no longer in a position” to hold the leadership at Renault, in which the French government owns a 15% stake.
Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa said, “too much authority was given to one person in terms of governance. This is a dark side of the Ghosn era which lasted for a long time.”
According to the BBC, charges of filing annual securities reports containing fake statements could result in up to 10 years in prison, fines of up to 10m yen, or both.