Renault names new leaders to replace Ghosn


Ghosn, along with his right-hand man and Nissan director Greg Kelly, was arrested on November 19 in Tokyo.

Renault's board will be asked to appoint Jean-Dominique Senard and Thierry Bollore to replace departing Chairman and Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn when it meets later on Thursday, a French government spokesman said. He was voted out of the top role at Nissan and Mitsubishi shortly after his arrest in November 2018.

Nissan welcomed the Renault announcement, expressing hope for a "new chapter" in ties between the partners. I wish Jean-Dominique Senard and Thierry Bollore every success (in their mission),"the French minister said".

Bollore had been seen as Ghosn's heir apparent since February, when he was promoted to chief operating officer, and had been handling numerous day-to-day duties at Renault even before his boss's arrest. Instead, the French auto giant had handed day-to-day operations to Mr Bolloré, who now takes the role permanently.

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Last December, Ghosn was re-arrested after new allegations surfaced on aggravated breach of trust in which the Brazilian-French businessman made Nissan shoulder Dollars 16.6 million in personal investment losses. Saikawa has denounced Ghosn as behind various financial wrongdoing and using company assets and money for personal gain, and has said governance must be fixed.

Ghosn was widely credited with turning around the fortunes of Renault's South American division in the late 1990s and reached near-hero status in Japan for his subsequent role in reviving the ailing Nissan brand. He was considered a key figure in establishing and then maintaining the alliance.

Ghosn, 64, is behind bars in Japan over charges of alleged financial misconduct at Renault's partner - Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor.

After Senard and Bollore's roles become official, the next step may be picking new leadership at the world's biggest automotive alliance.

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Senard has underscored the importance of the three company alliance, saying that no one can imagine splitting it up.

He said he will ensure that the link and framework between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi "remains strong, will be strengthened and will go forward very positively in the future".

The French union CGT has estimated that Mr Ghosn could be in line for a severance deal of up to €28m (£24.5m) in addition to an annual pension of €800,000.

Franck Daout, a representative of the CFDT union at Renault, said "we would be supporting Senard as the leader who handles the alliance".

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Prof David Bailey at Aston Business School said the alliance would no longer be able to rely on Mr Ghosn to hold it together, but it was important that the alliance remained, because of the cost pressures facing the industry.