Renault to name new bosses as Carlos Ghosn quits | Business

Renault’s board was meeting on Thursday to appoint new leadership, after the chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn resigned.

The French government, Renault’s biggest shareholder, confirmed the board was being asked to name outgoing Michelin boss Jean-Dominique Senard as chairman and Ghosn’s deputy Thierry Bollore as chief executive.

Ghosn resigned on Thursday following his arrest in Japan amid the financial scandal which has rocked the French carmaker and its alliance with Japan’s Nissan.

Senard and Bollore “will be presented this morning to the board of directors”, the French government said.

The widely expected appointments may begin to resolve a Renault-Nissan leadership crisis that erupted after Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in November and swift dismissal as Nissan chairman.

They also mark a clear end to one of the auto industry’s most feted careers, two decades after Ghosn was despatched by former Renault CEO Louis Schweitzer to rescue newly acquired Nissan from near-bankruptcy – a feat he pulled off in two years.

After 14 years as Renault CEO and a decade as chairman, Ghosn formally resigned from both roles on the eve of the board meeting, the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said.

Ghosn’s arrest and indictment for financial misconduct has strained Renault-Nissan relations, threatening the future of the partnership he transformed into a carmaking giant over two decades.

For two months, the tensions deepened as Renault and the French government stuck by Ghosn despite the revelation he had arranged to be paid tens of millions of dollars in additional income, unknown to shareholders.

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Ghosn has been charged with failing to disclose more than $80m (£60m) in additional compensation for 2010-18 that he had agreed to be paid later. Nissan director Greg Kelly and the Japanese company itself have also been indicted.

Both men deny the deferred pay was illegal or required disclosure, while not contesting the agreements’ existence. Ghosn has denied a separate breach of trust charge over personal investment losses he temporarily transferred to Nissan in 2008.

Ghosn finally agreed to step down from Renault after the French government called for leadership change and his bail requests were rejected by the Japanese courts.

Senard, 65, faces the immediate task of soothing relations with Nissan, which is 43.4% owned by Renault but the larger partner by sales.

Nissan currently owns a 15% non-voting stake in its French parent and 34% in Mitsubishi Motors, a third major partner in the manufacturing alliance.

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