Breaking News: Carlos Ghosn Out At Nissan-Renault

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Other than Elon Musk, few people have had as much of an impact on the electric car revolution as Carlos Ghosn. As head of Nissan-Renault, he has personally shepherded the Nissan LEAF from a concept a decade ago to one of the best selling electric cars in the history of the world. Now, it seems, he has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and is out as chairman of the Japanese-French enterprise.

carlos ghosn

According to the Chicago Tribune, which cites Japanese news sources such as broadcaster NHK and the Yomiuri newspaper, Ghosn has been arrested by Tokyo prosecutors. Asahi, another Japanese newspaper, reports prosecutors began searching Nissan offices and its headquarters in Japan and other locations on Monday evening.

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Nissan says it has been conducting an internal investigation of Ghosn and Greg Kelly, a member of its board of directors, for months based on information supplied by a whistleblower within the company.

Nissan has released a statement saying, “The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been 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. Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly’s deep involvement has also been confirmed.”

Hiroto Saikawa, CEO of Nissan, says he will propose that Ghosn and Kelly be ousted from their positions as members of the board of directors. CleanTechnica contributor Nicholas Zart is in Europe today and reports Ghosn is all over the headlines in France. Renault stock has plunged 10% overnight and French president Emmanuel Macron has gotten involved to urge calm in the financial community. Renault is one of the biggest car makers in France and one of its biggest employers.

According to France 24, citing Japanese news source Jiji, Ghosn is suspected of undervaluing his reported income by as much as $40 million over a period of years, mostly from trades he made in Nissan shares on the Tokyo stock exchange. Ghosn has been revered in Japan as a hero, being widely credited with saving Nissan from bankruptcy after it was acquired by Renault in 1999. He has served as chairman of the board since 2001, an extraordinarily long time in the car business.

The question now is how his departure might affect the future of electric vehicles from Renault and Nissan. For that, we will just have to wait and see. Although the LEAF has enjoyed unprecedented success, it has failed to fully address the challenge from Tesla Motors. Perhaps new leadership will encourage both companies to raise their game when it comes to electric vehicles.


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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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